Discrepancy in perceptions regarding patient participation in hand hygiene between patients and health care workers

Min Kyung Kim, Eun Young Nam, Sun Hee Na, Myoung Jin Shin, Hyun Sook Lee, Nak Hyun Kim, Chung Jong Kim, Kyoung Ho Song, Pyoeng Gyun Choe, Wan Beom Park, Ji Hwan Bang, Eu Suk Kim, Sang Won Park, Nam Joong Kim, Myoung Don Oh, Hong Bin Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background Patient participation in hand hygiene programs is regarded as an important component of hand hygiene improvement, but the feasibility of the program is still largely unknown. We examined the perceptions of patients/families and health care workers (HCWs) with regard to patient participation in hand hygiene. Methods A cross-sectional survey of patients/families as well as physicians and nurses was performed using an anonymous, self-administered questionnaire in a 1,000-bed teaching hospital in South Korea. Results A total of 152 physicians, 387 nurses, and 334 patients/families completed the survey. The overall response rate was 84%, 85%, and more than 60% among physicians, nurses, and patients/families, respectively. Whereas 75% of patients/families wished to ask HCWs to clean their hands if they did not do so themselves, only 26% of physicians and 31% of nurses supported the participation of patients (P <.001). The most common reason why HCWs disagreed with patient participation was concern about negative effects on their relationship with patients (54%). Regarding the method of patient involvement, patients preferred to assess hand hygiene performance, whereas physicians preferred patients to ask directly. Conclusions There was a significant discrepancy in perceptions regarding patient participation between patients/families and HCWs. Enhanced understanding and acceptance of any new program by both patients and HCWs before its introduction are needed for successful implementation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)510-515
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Infection Control
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 May 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Hand disinfection
  • Key Word Health care-associated infection
  • Patient empowerment
  • Physician-patient relation


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