Not all docs/nurses want to be asked about hand hygiene

Not all docs/Nurses want to be asked about hand hygiene
Although most health care workers appreciate the role of patients in preventing health care-associated infection, a considerable proportion are uncomfortable with patients asking about their hand hygiene, according to a letter published online Sept. 3 in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

(HealthDay)—Although most health care workers (HCWs) appreciate the role of patients in preventing health care-associated infection, a considerable proportion are uncomfortable with patients asking about their hand hygiene, according to a letter published online Sept. 3 in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Yves Longtin, M.D., from the Infection Control Program and Collaborating Centre on in Geneva, and colleagues assessed HCWs' perceptions of a hypothetical patient participation program to improve staff compliance with hand hygiene. Two-hundred seventy-seven HCWs responded to an anonymous, confidential survey assessing attitudes and beliefs.

Forty-four percent of the respondents were physicians and 56 percent were nurses; 65 percent had more than 10 years' work experience. In the previous month, the researchers found that only 3 percent had been asked by a patient whether they had washed their hands before being cared for. Although nearly three-quarters (74 percent) believed that patients could help to prevent health care-associated infections, many HCWs did not support the idea of patients reminding them to perform hand hygiene (29 percent), and more than a third refused to wear a badge inviting patients to ask about hand hygiene (37 percent). Almost half (44 percent) admitted that if patients discovered they had omitted hand hygiene they would feel guilty, and 43 percent reported that they would be ashamed to admit having forgotten to wash their hands.

"This survey indicates that a nonnegligible proportion of HCWs do not endorse the concept of inviting patients to ask about hand hygiene," the authors conclude. "HCWs may prefer to keep patients in relative ignorance regarding appropriate behavior to avoid delicate situations."

More information: Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Wash your hands and you may approach the patient bed

Mar 17, 2011

Each year patients in the U.S. get more than a million infections while in the hospital being treated for something else. The best way to prevent infection is to practice proper hand hygiene, according to the U.S. Centers ...

Recommended for you

Patient-centered medical homes reduce costs

28 minutes ago

The patient-centered medical home (PCMH), introduced in 2007, is a model of health care that emphasizes personal relationships, team delivery of care, coordination across specialties and care settings, quality ...

New mums still excessively sleepy after four months

1 hour ago

(Medical Xpress)—New mums are being urged to be cautious about returning to work too quickly, after a QUT study found one in two were still excessively sleepy four months after giving birth.

It's time to address the health of men around the world

2 hours ago

All over the world, men die younger than women and do worse on a host of health indicators, yet policy makers rarely focus on this "men's health gap" or adopt programs aimed at addressing it, according to an international ...

User comments