Survey: Many Hospitalized Patients Nervous To Ask Workers To Wash Hands

Many hospital patients are reluctant to ask health care workers to wash their hands, even when their own health is at risk according to a new study released this month.

The study conducted by researchers at the University of Wisconsin surveyed 200 patients who were at risk for or who had a history of infections with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, know as MRSA, or Clostridium difficile in addition to those at risk for infections at a surgical site or with a central line. It appears in the December issue of the journal Infection Control and Epidemiology.

Of those surveyed, 99.5 percent of patients believed health care workers were supposed to wash their hands and 90.5 percent said those workers should be reminded to wash their hands if they forget, but only 64 percent said they would feel comfortable reminding a nurse to do it. The number dropped even more, to 54 percent, of those patients who said they would feel comfortable asking a doctor to do so and a mere 14 percent of patients reported ever requesting a worker to wash their hands.

Studies show good hand hygiene reduces the transmission of healthcare-associated infections. It is usually recommended health care workers wash their hands or use an alcohol-based rub both before and after seeing a patient.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate 1.7 million patients contract HAIs yearly and 99,000 of those patients die from them.

According to PracticeLink, patients who acquire infections average nearly a week longer in the hospital, are five times more likely to be readmitted after discharge and twice as likely to die.

If you or your loved one has suffered a serious illness or had your condition made worse due to the negligence of a medical staff, it may be important to discuss your case with a qualified Wisconsin personal injury lawyer.

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