Archive for March, 2012

An excellent meeting at UHCW yesterday (March 27th) has brought me even closer to the launch of the empirical phase of the Research Project. 

Having discussed ways of recruiting HCW to become involved in this Hand Hygiene Audit research the Recruitment letter has now been forwarded to the Communications Manager at UHCW, for dissemination via a variety of different means – including internal publications and team briefings.

I have also been invited to the ICT (Infection Control Team) Performace Team meeting next week (4th April), where I will be able to introduce the topic fully to the attendees, and (hopefully!) begin the recruitment of participants for the Participatory Observation phase…..



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As part of my forthcoming research I am bound by ethical procedures to ensure that potential Participants provide informed consent before taking part in any of the 3 studies.  I have been fully passed by the relevant Ethical boards for my area, having produced various “Participant Information” documents and Consent Forms for sctutiny. 

 However, as part of another arm of my work (looking at Inherent/Elective Hand Hygiene Behaviour) I have recently been looking at “Readability” as a concept; specifically the Flesch-Kincaid scale (using a tool anyone can access on Microsoft Word).  Here, the level of “Readability” of any given text is analysed and given a rating based on the US Grade School system, which can then be translated into chronological years e.g. Grade 6 = 11 to 12 years.

It is through this research that I found that whilst a lot of literature has been published about enhancing the “readability” of Patient information (e.g. medical leaflets), there seems little literature regarding the information which is provided to non-patient research Participants…  Thus, whilst being passed by the relevant Ethical boards assures that research should do no harm to the Participant, whether an average person could fully understand the information provided appears not to have generated a “standardised” solution.    In regard to Patients, the recommendation is to aim for a reading age of 11-12 years, however there is no such recommendation for research Participants.  Now of course this could be due to the clear fact that all studies are different, thus all study Participants will potentially have different expected levels of comprehension….but it is still therefore hard to classify what exactly writing for the “lay” individual entails on a scale bases…..


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This story has been in the news over the past few days: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/olympics/17268553,  and has led to many interesting chats, emails and texts in my direction!

Cropped transparent version of Image:Olympic f...

Image via Wikipedia

The underlying line is that Team GB were apparently advised to ‘avoid’ shaking hands to limit their exposure to potential bugs. 

A tweat by the BOA (British Olympic Association) has clarified their position as one of “common sense”: ” Team GB, to be clear: do shake hands, do use hand foam, do wash your hands, do reduce the risk of catching a bug. It’s all common sense.”

Thus what is paramount is that it is proper Hand Hygiene, rather than contact avoidance that is the desired behaviour to be remembered by Team GB.   A message that can apply to us all, regardless of our occupation….



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So much has changed since my last post (which mainly explains my absence in this realm..!) that it would take too long to list everything – brief highlights follow:

1: I’ve changed the way my Research is orientated (see here).

Why?  Well, simply I had reached a cross-roads in the research process, whereby I had to really consider and clarify exactly what overall aim the research had – there was an increasing danger that I could have ended up producing lots of interesting “data”, but no new “knowledge” – a Ph.D. student’s nightmare!

SO – following the advice of my Supervisor (Professor Jeremy Wyatt of the Institute of Digital Health) I produced an “End-To-End” plan, which was created by working backwards from the overall goal (the Research Question) and feeding in where the various parts of the planned research would add data to enable this objective to be reached, and ultimately argued. You can see the end product here

2: I presented the culmination of this re-planning, and an overview of the Research Project so far at a WMG Research Seminar on the 28th January 2012.  The presentation Methods for Clarifying Requirements for Technology to Improve Hand Hygiene Adherence in Hospitalswas well received, and gave peers and the wider audience a real insight into the future plans for this research. A copy of this presentation will (hopefully) be uploaded shortly.

3: I now have full NRES and UHCW (NHS Research Site) Ethical Approval, and thus will begin the process of Participant Recruitment during this month.  Expect further updates on this topic shortly….


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