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J Hosp Infect. 2001 Aug;48(4):275-80.

Patients' perceptions of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and source isolation: a qualitative analysis of source-isolated patients.

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  • 1Department of Dental Public Health and Oral Health Services Research, Guy's King's & St Thomas' Dental Institute, Guy's Hospital, London, SE1 9RT, UK.


A group of 19 individuals who had been infected with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and placed in source isolation were interviewed about their views of MRSA infection and the experience of source isolation. Participants were unclear about the nature of MRSA, and generally did not perceive the infection to have a significant impact upon their life (either in terms of the presence of symptoms or in restriction of activities). Despite this, roughly half the sample thought that an MRSA infection was 'serious'. Only one participant clearly viewed their MRSA as hospital-acquired, most being uncertain about the mode of transmission or viewing it as unrelated to the behaviour of care staff. Few respondents displayed an accurate knowledge of the reasons for source isolation and barrier nursing. Isolation was viewed as having advantages and disadvantages. There was little evidence of a detrimental psychological effect of isolation. Patients infected with MRSA appear to understand little about their condition or the necessity for barrier nursing and source isolation. This has implications for understanding patients' adherence with infection control procedures.

Copyright 2001 The Hospital Infection Society.

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