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

September 10, 2012
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."

Explore further: Latex gloves lead to lax hand hygiene in hospitals, study finds

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

Related Stories

Latex gloves lead to lax hand hygiene in hospitals, study finds

November 3, 2011
Healthcare workers who wear gloves while treating patients are much less likely to clean their hands before and after patient contact, according to a study published in the December issue of Infection Control and Hospital ...

Studies shed light on hand hygiene knowledge and infection risk in hospitals and elementary schools

August 4, 2011
Increased hand hygiene knowledge positively correlates with a decreased risk of transmitting infection among both healthcare workers (HCW) and elementary school children, according to two studies published in the August issue ...

Study reports predictors of poor hand hygiene in an emergency department

October 3, 2011
Researchers studying hand hygiene of healthcare workers in the emergency department found certain care situations, including bed location and type of healthcare worker performing care, resulted in poorer hand hygiene practice. ...

Recommended for you

To reduce postoperative pain, consider sleep—and caffeine

August 18, 2017
Sleep is essential for good mental and physical health, and chronic insufficient sleep increases the risk for several chronic health problems.

Despite benefits, half of parents against later school start times

August 18, 2017
Leading pediatrics and sleep associations agree: Teens shouldn't start school so early.

Doctors exploring how to prescribe income security

August 18, 2017
Physicians at St. Michael's Hospital are studying how full-time income support workers hired by health-care clinics can help vulnerable patients or those living in poverty improve their finances and their health.

Schoolchildren who use e-cigarettes are more likely to try tobacco

August 17, 2017
Vaping - or the use of e-cigarettes - is widely accepted as a safer option for people who are already smoking.

Federal snack program does not yield expected impacts, researchers find

August 17, 2017
A well-intentioned government regulation designed to offer healthier options in school vending machines has failed to instill better snacking habits in a sample of schools in Appalachian Virginia, according to a study by ...

In a nutshell: Walnuts activate brain region involved in appetite control

August 17, 2017
Packed with nutrients linked to better health, walnuts are also thought to discourage overeating by promoting feelings of fullness. Now, in a new brain imaging study, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.