Hand hygiene among patients: Attitudes, perceptions, and willingness to participate

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Patient participation has been proven to increase hand hygiene compliance of health care workers. The objective of the study is to better understand patients' attitudes and perceptions toward hand hygiene, and to identify patients with the highest motivation to participate in hand hygiene.


A 2-week, cross-sectional survey of hospitalized patients and their family members was conducted using an anonymous, self-reporting questionnaire in a large teaching hospital in Taiwan.


Of the 859 respondents, 89.8% considered hand hygiene important, and 75.9% would take hand hygiene practices into consideration when they choose a hospital. Most respondents (78.4%) would like more information on hand hygiene, particularly persons who have had experience with health care–associated infection (odds ratio, 2.48; 95% confidence interval, 1.57-3.89; P < .001). Respondents would be more willing to ask a doctor or nurse to wash his or her hands if they knew that the doctor or nurse would appreciate the reminder (doctor: from 48.9% to 74.6% [P < .001]; nurse: from 50.8% to 76.3% [P < .001]).


Hand hygiene is considered important by most patients and family members and plays an influential role in their choice of a hospital or doctor. Persons with experience with health care–associated infections have the greatest motivation to participate in hand hygiene.

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