Evaluating methods for the use and decontamination of needleless connectors: A qualitative inquiry

Larsen, Emily N. and August, Deanne and Keogh, Samantha and Flynn, Julie ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1512-2089 and Ullman, Amanda J. and Marsh, Nicole and Cooke, Marie and McCarthy, Alexandra L. and Rickard, Claire M. (2022) Evaluating methods for the use and decontamination of needleless connectors: A qualitative inquiry. Infection, Disease and Health. pp. 1-9. ISSN 2468-0451


Abstract

Background
Needleless connectors (NCs) are essential devices designed to provide safe, needle-free connection between venous access devices, syringes and infusions. There is a variety of designs, and associated decontamination products and practices; the resulting confusion can cause detrimental patient outcomes. This study aimed to explore nurses’ attitudes, techniques, and practices around the use and decontamination of NCs in clinical practice.

Methods
Qualitative inquiry was conducted with seven focus groups of 4–6 participants each in the cancer and surgical units of a large tertiary hospital in Australia between January and March 2019. Participants comprised nurses who had taken part in a recent clinical trial of NC decontamination. Focus group sessions were recorded, transcribed and synthesised using content analysis.

Results
Seven focus groups were conducted (total, N = 30 participants), lasting 16–20 min. Six major themes were identified surrounding needleless connector use and decontamination: ‘safety and utility’; ‘terminology and technological understanding’; ‘clinical practice determinants’; ‘decontamination procedures and influencers’; ‘education and culture’; and ‘research and innovation’.

Conclusion
The participants articulated positive attitudes towards needleless connector use for needle-stick and infection prevention, however rationales for care and maintenance practices demonstrated limited understanding of guidelines (e.g., disinfection time) and specific NC function (e.g., positive, negative pressure). The findings indicated the need for targeted, standardised needleless connector education, to enhance staff confidence, improve consistency of care and ensure patient safety.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Files associated with this item cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Nursing and Midwifery (1 Jan 2015 - )
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Nursing and Midwifery (1 Jan 2015 - )
Date Deposited: 06 Jul 2022 02:47
Last Modified: 22 Aug 2022 03:41
Uncontrolled Keywords: Needleless connectors, Vascular access devices, Decontamination
Fields of Research (2020): 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4205 Nursing > 420501 Acute care
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4205 Nursing > 420599 Nursing not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 20 HEALTH > 2001 Clinical health > 200199 Clinical health not elsewhere classified
20 HEALTH > 2099 Other health > 209999 Other health not elsewhere classified
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.idh.2022.04.002
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/49413

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