Providers not keen on patient participation in hand hygiene, study finds

A survey of South Korean physicians, nurses and families found that patients support patient involvement in hand hygiene, but healthcare providers did not.

Researchers asked 334 patients and families, 152 physicians and 387 nurses about their perception of hand hygiene and patient participation in hand hygiene activities. Results of the survey were published in the American Journal of Infection Control.

About three-fourths of patients and families wanted to ask providers to clean their hands if they did not practice hand hygiene. However, just 26 percent of physicians and 31 percent of nurses supported patient participation in hand hygiene improvement projects.

Also, physicians and nurses would rather have patients ask them to wash their hands directly, while patients and families preferred assessing hand hygiene after they were discharged or during their stay in the hospital.

"This study in a healthcare facility revealed a significant discrepancy between patients and healthcare workers in their perceptions of patient participation," the study concludes. "Therefore, it is of primary importance to build a better understanding and to promote a facilitating environment for patient participation among patients and healthcare workers."

One physician not involved in the study cautioned to Reuters that patient and provider feelings are "culturally specific" so the study findings may not be applicable everywhere.

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