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Third of Hospital Staff Say Hand-Washing Reminders Unwelcome
Date:9/6/2012

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Sept. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly one-third of doctors and nurses are not so thrilled with the idea that hospital patients should be encouraged to remind them to wash their hands before treating them, a new Swiss survey suggests.

The poll was conducted among medical workers at a health center in Geneva, and it also found that very few patients raise the issue with their doctors and nurses, despite rising global concerns about the threat of hospital infections.

"The results were very surprising," said survey author Dr. Yves Longtin, who conducted the research in 2009 while with the Infection Control Program and World Health Organization Collaborating Centre on Patient Safety at the University of Geneva Hospitals.

"Patients have been encouraged for many years to ask health care workers whether they cleaned their hands before caring for them," noted Longtin. "This movement has been implemented in numerous countries, including Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and Switzerland. There is no doubt that these campaigns were good-intentioned. However, health care workers' perceptions regarding these campaigns was little understood."

Longtin, who is currently an assistant professor and infectious disease microbiologist in the department of microbiology and infectious diseases at Laval University and Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Quebec in Quebec City, Canada, reports the findings in a research letter published online Sept. 3 in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

In recent years, a rise in the rate of in-hospital antibiotic-resistant infections in the United States and abroad has focused public attention on hospital hygiene. The research team pointed out that good hand hygiene among health care workers is widely thought to be the number one way to curtail such infection risk.

To explore how the patient-caregiver relationship turns on this issue, the team
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