Engaging patients in the prevention of health care-associated infections: A survey of patients' awareness, knowledge, and perceptions regarding the risks and consequences of infection with methicillin-resistantStaphylococcus aureusandClostridium difficile

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Abstract

Background and objective

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections and Clostridium difficile infections (CDI) are major health care-associated infections (HAIs). Little is known about patients' knowledge of these HAIs. Therefore, we surveyed patients to determine awareness, knowledge, and perceptions of MRSA infections and CDI.

Design

An interviewer-administered questionnaire.

Setting

A tertiary care academic medical center.

Participants

Adult patients who met at least one of the following criteria: at risk of CDI or MRSA infection, current CDI or colonization or current MRSA infection or colonization, or history of CDI or MRSA infection.

Methods

Two unique surveys were developed and administered to 100 patients in 2011.

Results

Overall, 76% of patients surveyed were aware of MRSA, whereas 44% were aware of C difficile. The strongest predictor of patients' awareness of these infections was having a history of HAI. Patients with a history of HAI were significantly more likely to have heard of both MRSA (odds ratio, 13.29; 95% confidence interval, 2.84-62.14; P = .001) and C difficile (odds ratio, 9.78; 95% confidence interval, 2.66-35.95; P = .001), than those patients without a history of HAI. There was also a significant positive association between having a history of HAI and greater knowledge of the risk factors, health consequences, and prevention techniques relative to CDI and MRSA infections.

Conclusions

There are additional opportunities to engage patients about the risks and consequences of MRSA and CDIs, particularly those without a history of HAI.

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