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WHO Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care: First Global Patient Safety Challenge Clean Care Is Safer Care. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2009.

Cover of WHO Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care

WHO Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care: First Global Patient Safety Challenge Clean Care Is Safer Care.

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2Patient empowerment and health care

The term chosen to engage and involve patients will depend on what is appropriate for the specific culture of a region or community. Patient empowerment might be the preferred term from a patient advocacy point of view. However, the less emotionally charged and challenging term patient participation might be a term more acceptable to many HCWs, patients, and cultures. For the purpose of these guidelines, the word empowerment is used.

WHO defines empowerment as “a process through which people gain greater control over decisions and actions affecting their health” and should be seen as both an individual and a community process.1100

Four components have been reported as being fundamental to the process of patient empowerment: 1) understanding by the patient of his/her role; 2) aquisition by patients of sufficient knowledge to be able to engage with their healthcare provider; 3) patient skills; and 4) the presence of a facilitating environment.1101 Based on these four components, empowerment can be defined as:

A process in which patients understand their role, are given the knowledge and skills by their health-care provider to perform a task in an environment that recognizes community and cultural differences and encourages patient participation.

Copyright © 2009, World Health Organization.

All rights reserved. Publications of the World Health Organization can be obtained from WHO Press, World Health Organization, 20 Avenue Appia, 1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland (tel.: +41 22 791 3264; fax: +41 22 791 4857; e-mail: tni.ohw@sredrokoob). Requests for permission to reproduce or translate WHO publications – whether for sale or for noncommercial distribution – should be addressed to WHO Press, at the above address (fax: +41 22 791 4806; e-mail: tni.ohw@snoissimrep).

Bookshelf ID: NBK144022

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