Doctors, nurses don’t want patients to bug them about handwashing

Consumers are increasingly viewed as the critical control point (CCP) for food and hygiene safety, and are increasingly required to tell others exactly what they think, such as, Dude, wash your hands, Dude, use a thermometer to make sure my burger is done, and Dude, get that finger out of your ear, you don’t know where that finger’s been (or where it’s going).

Dr. Yves Longtin of the Geneva University Hospital presented results of an online survey at the 50th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy in Boston. The 277 respondents — all randomly selected doctors and nurses — believed that patient collaboration could help prevent medical errors, two-thirds had "negative feelings" about such participation programs.

Forty-three percent said that they would "feel humiliated" if they had to admit poor hand hygiene habits. Another 30 percent of workers said they simply would not appreciate patient reminders. Some respondents (16 percent) felt that if patients were to get involved, accountability then would shift partially from the caregivers to those patients.

What’s more, more than one-third of respondents said they would refuse to wear badges encouraging patients to ask about hand washing habits.

"Respondents had a pretty high impression of their own perceived levels of hand hygiene," Longtin said. "However, most believed they could improve."