A Serious Game for On-the-Ward Infection Control Awareness Training: Ward Off Infection

A Serious Game for On-the-Ward Infection Control Awareness Training: Ward Off Infection

Ian Dunwell (Serious Games Institute, UK) and Steve Jarvis (SELEX Systems Integration Ltd., UK)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1903-6.ch011
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Healthcare associated infections represent a major ongoing cost to health services. This chapter reviews the development and deployment of Ward Off Infection, a serious game targeted at improving infection control practices of nurses in on-the-ward training. The game was deployed in 2009 across 13 hospital wards within the UK. As limited usage of the game precluded attempts to consider its efficacy though pre and post-survey, this chapter focuses upon the key issues surrounding this low uptake. Relating these more generally to the deployment of serious games in healthcare, a potential link is observed between the presence of training professionals and usage of the game, as well as strong overriding perceptions of the medium and training objectives by users. The findings demonstrate the challenges associated with enacting effective behavioural and attitudinal change through a serious game deployed in an on the ward context, particularly with respect to stimulating high levels of perceived usefulness. Hence, the authors reflect on key lessons learned in the development and deployment of Ward Off Infection, and relate their findings to other studies of serious games in healthcare, identifying the context in which a game is deployed to be a critical development consideration.
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Research into infection control on hospital has previously indicated that lack of theoretical knowledge is not a significant factor in ward hygiene, and that attitude plays a more predominant role (de Wandel, Maes, Labeau, Vereecken, & Blot, 2010). As such, whilst training programmes focussing on knowledge transfer have value to a student audience, a comprehensive training solution targeted at minimizing nonsocomial infection must engender attitudinal change amongst clinical staff. In a large-scale survey, key factors in hand hygiene were identified as clinical role, gender, working in an intensive care unit, working during weekdays rather than weekends, and the number of opportunities for hand hygiene arising per hour of nursing care (Pittet, 2001). Whilst this study supports the notion that nurses are responsible for a proportionally smaller number of violations of infection control policy than clinical staff in other roles, continued support and training for nursing staff in maintaining best-practice in a high-pressure environment is essential in minimising the risk of healthcare associated infection (HCAI). This is supported by findings linking workload to increased rates of nonsocomial infection (Kibbler, Quick, & O’Neill, 1998), as well as those of demonstrating the impact of improper management and placement of patients with infectious conditions on HCAI (Coia et al., 2006). Infections primarily spread by hand contact, for example MRSA highlight the importance of adherence to hand-washing policy and best-practice, though effective infection control requires multiple factors be addressed (Dancer, 2010), further reinforcing the notion that both long-term behaviour and momentary lapses, rather than knowledge transfer, must be the focus of training programmes seeking to reduce HCAI rates.

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