Engaging the community on antimicrobial resistance and health care associated infections

Dr Holly Seale1

1University Of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia


Introduction: Patient engagement around hospital Infection control and antimicrobial over prescribing has been proposed as a useful adjunct to improving the impact of efforts in these areas. Government infection control policy specifically directs healthcare organisations to involve health consumers. However, the patient is still notably missing in conversations and action plans around infection control and antimicrobial stewardship processes. This study aimed to examine the views of key stakeholders around  communication and engagement on the topics.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews were completed with key stakeholders involved with developing and implementing policy and programs to explore these issues. Thematic analysis was undertaken.

Results: Participants felt that while there is awareness in the community about the existence of AMR and HAIs, the public generally lacks deep or technical understanding of the problems. It was suggested that there is huge variation between individual clinicians in their effectiveness in empowering patients and communicating about these issues. Communication to the public on these issues could be improved through use of more interactive technology, and integration of personal stories and anecdotes into campaign materials.

Conclusion: The results suggest that healthcare workers, especially antibiotic prescribers, need to be better trained and supported in educating patients on these issues. Our study participants would welcome the enhancement of patient empowerment strategies in this space, however further evaluation of engagement strategies should be performed.


Dr Seale is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Public Health and Community Medicine, UNSW Sydney. She leads a program of research that is focused on the social science aspects of infectious diseases, infection prevention and antimicrobial resistance.  Within this program, she explores the individual, societal and organisational factors that influence engagement and acceptance of  strategies and formulates and develops approaches/interventions to improve compliance.

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