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What variables are associated with the public's willingness to take measures to maintain a hygienic hospital environment?

  • Author Footnotes
    1 Head of Health Promotion Program, School of Public Health, and Founding director of the Health and Risk Communication Research Center, University of Haifa, 199 Aba Khoushy Ave., Mount Carmel, Haifa 3498838, Israel.
    Anat Gesser-Edelsburg
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to Anat Gesser-Edelsburg, PhD, School of Public Health, The Health and Risk Communication Research Center, University of Haifa, 199 Aba Khoushy Ave., Mount Carmel, Haifa, 3498838, Israel. (A. Gesser-Edelsburg).
    Footnotes
    1 Head of Health Promotion Program, School of Public Health, and Founding director of the Health and Risk Communication Research Center, University of Haifa, 199 Aba Khoushy Ave., Mount Carmel, Haifa 3498838, Israel.
    Affiliations
    School of Public Health, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel

    The Health and Risk Communication Research Center, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel
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  • Mina Zemach
    Affiliations
    Midgam Consulting & Research Ltd, Bnei Brak, Israel
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  • Ricky Cohen
    Affiliations
    School of Public Health, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel
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  • Asher Salmon
    Affiliations
    Hadassah University Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel
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  • Lior Lowenstein
    Affiliations
    Rambam Health Care Campus, Haifa, Israel
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  • Dan Shteinberg
    Affiliations
    Bnai Zion Medical Center, Haifa, Israel
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  • Author Footnotes
    1 Head of Health Promotion Program, School of Public Health, and Founding director of the Health and Risk Communication Research Center, University of Haifa, 199 Aba Khoushy Ave., Mount Carmel, Haifa 3498838, Israel.

      Highlights

      • A minority of patients (24%) commented to medical personnel about maintaining hygiene.
      • 31%–38% of patients did not pay attention to whether medical personnel maintained hygiene.
      • Most patients (~67%) took active steps to maintain a hygienic environment.
      • Visitors who had also been hospitalized took somewhat more hygienic measures.
      • Level of religiousness and sex were associated with patient decisions to make comments.
      • Priorities and patient visits to clinics were associated with self-initiated action.

      Background

      Most of the studies on hospital infections have focused on the perceptions and reported behavior of the medical personnel. This research explore the practices undertaken both by Israeli patients and visitors, in order to maintain a hygienic hospital environment, and to locate the variables that are associated with them.

      Methods

      An online survey of national representative sample of Israeli hospital's visitors and patients adult population, who were hospitalized in the five years before the interview (n=209), and who visited patients in hospitals in the three years before the interview (n=454).

      Results

      Only a minority of patients (24%) comment to medical personnel about maintaining hygiene, while a majority (67%-69%) took active steps to maintain a hygienic environment. The main variables that were found to be associated with patients' making comments were level of religiousness and gender, whereas priorities, namely whether hospital infections were a high priority, and the frequency of the patient's visits to hospital outpatient clinics, were associated with self-initiated action.

      Conclusions

      In order to reduce barriers to commenting to hospital personnel, we propose framing the subject of hospital hygiene as a matter of health literacy and a subject of public discourse, rather than a sole medical issue

      Key Words

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