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Infection control perception and behavior: a question of sex and gender? Results of the AHOI feasibility study

Authors Goerig T, Dittmann K, Kramer A, Diedrich S, Heidecke CD, Huebner NO

Received 2 July 2018

Accepted for publication 21 September 2018

Published 4 December 2018 Volume 2018:11 Pages 2511—2519

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IDR.S178922

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Suresh Antony


Tillmann Goerig,1 Kathleen Dittmann,1 Axel Kramer,1 Stephan Diedrich,2 Claus-Dieter Heidecke,2 Nils-Olaf Huebner1

1Institute of Hygiene and Environmental Medicine, Universitätsmedizin Greifswald, Greifswald, Germany; 2Department of General Surgery, Visceral, Thoracic and Vascular Surgery, Universitätsmedizin Greifswald, Greifswald, Germany

Purpose: Infections, in particular with multidrug-resistant organisms, are a burden for inpatient and outpatient care and the whole community. The pathogens “roam” with patients and their relatives, forming an epidemiological bridge between different care facilities. Patients could play an important role in infection control, given that they are properly involved. The AHOI project stands for the Activation of patients, people in need of care, and care-providers for a Hygiene-conscious participatiOn in Infection prevention. To this end, a multimodal intervention bundle was developed and subjected to a feasibility study at a university hospital. Our goal was to clarify whether sex- and gender-specific characteristics are relevant in the field of infection prevention.
Materials and methods: AHOI was tested with a cross-sectional design and a cross-media communication strategy at two surgical wards of a university hospital. Interventions included patient information brochures and motivational materials, reminders, and two video presentations. A welcome box with information material and two questionnaires was given to every inpatient. The patients were instructed to complete the questionnaires at the beginning and at the end of their stay.
Results: A sample size of 133 inpatients who completed questionnaires at the beginning and end of hospitalization was analyzable. The analysis produced a differentiated picture of the perception and reaction behavior of the sexes. Women had a more negative expectation of the response of doctors. In addition, there were differences in the perception of the positioning of disinfectant dispensers and cleaning processes as well as in satisfaction with the general cleanliness. For all subjects mentioned above, the differences were significant at least at the P-value 0.05.
Conclusion: The AHOI study shows sex differences in hygiene perception and behavior. Measures to improve patient safety by involving patients in infection control must take these differences into account.

Keywords: cross infection, prevention and control, disease transmission, hand hygiene, health communication, health education

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