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Understanding factors that impact on public and patient's risk perceptions and responses toward Clostridium difficile and other health care-associated infections

Understanding factors that impact on public and patient's risk perceptions and responses toward Clostridium difficile and other health care-associated infections: a structured literature review

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Authors

  • Emma Burnett
  • Bridget Johnston
  • Nora Kearney
  • Joanne Corlett
  • Stephen MacGillivray

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Info

Original languageEnglish
Pages542-548
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Infection Control
Journal publication dateJun 2013
Volume41
Issue6
DOIs
StatePublished

Abstract

Background: Clostridium difficile is the most common healthcare associated infection and a major cause of death and increased morbidity. It is vital that that patients and the public are provided with the right information and communication to assist them to understand their role in preventative measures. Successful implementation of communication and management strategies hinges on individuals’ risk perceptions.

Methods: We performed a structured literature review to examine the evidence regarding public and patients’ risk perceptions and responses towards Clostridium difficile and other Healthcare Associated Infections. Fourteen studies were included.

Results: Fourteen studies were included. Only 1 study was specific to Clostridium difficile, 7 related to other Healthcare Associated Infections. Many reported limited understanding of the technical issues of the infection, concerns of transmission to family and friends, inadequate information available and distrust. The media was one of the main sources of information. Both emotional and physical responses highlighted the level of confusion, fear, anxiety and anger.

Conclusions: Empirical research of risk perceptions towards Clostridium difficile is limited. Without well researched studies examining risk perceptions and responses, there is a danger of developing and implementing communication and management strategies that do not meet the needs of our patients or the public.

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