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J Ren Care. 2007 Jan-Mar;33(1):30-4.

An exploratory study of patient's feelings about asking healthcare professionals to wash their hands.

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University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, UK.


The purpose of this study was to explore patient opinion about asking healthcare professionals to wash their hands prior to a clinical procedure and to explore if MRSA status and access to patient information about infection control would influence anxiety about asking. A descriptive survey was undertaken using a semi-structured questionnaire. The questionnaire was distributed to a randomised convenience sample of 185 in-patients across all departments of an acute NHS Trust hospital (response rate 59.4%). Spearman's rank order and Kendall Tau-b tests were used to analyse specific correlations. Respondents were more confident than anxious to be involved in a campaign that asked patients to ask staff to wash their hands. Patients were more anxious to ask if previous admission episodes were fewer, if their knowledge of MRSA was high and if there was less information about infection control available. Less anxiety was associated with patients who had MRSA in the past and the suggestion that staff wore badges saying 'It's OK to ask'.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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