Re-imagining patient involvement in infection prevention and control and antimicrobial stewardship

Dr Holly Seale1, Prof  Brett Mitchell2, Dr  Pamela  Konecny3, Dr Alex Broom1, Dr  Michael Maley4, Dr Adrienne Torda5

1University Of New South Wales, Kensington, Australia,
2Avondale College of Higher Education, Wahroonga, Australia,
3St George Hospital, Kogarah, Australia,
4Liverpool Hospital, Liverpool, Australia,
5Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick, Australia


Interventions developed to date to support patient participation in hand hygiene advocacy have failed to meaningfully transition patients from ‘being willing to participate’ to actively speaking up’. To inform the development of a new hospital-based strategy to improve patient participation in IPC activities, our team undertook a series of studies to examine the current landscape around patient participation.


We completed in-depth interviews with a sample of patients and healthcare providers from three large public hospitals in Sydney. In addition, we completed a survey with patients at one of the sites. We will reflect on this data, along with insights from the current literature in the presentation.


We have identified that: (1) the health system focuses on information provision as the primary strategy (generally reactive not proactive); (2) there is a level of misunderstanding about what patient involvement entails; and (3) that both healthcare workers and patients acknowledge that ‘everybody has a role to play in IPC’ but not sure about activities.


While building awareness about HCAI has been the traditional approach to date, this is an outdated model. If we are going to move towards a patient centred system for IPC, we need to start focusing more on the enablers of participation. We need to support change using theory-driven behavioural change interventions that are grounded in an understanding of the enablers and barriers impacting on patient participation.


Dr. Holly Seale is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Public Health and Community Medicine, and the Program Co-Director of the Master of Infectious Diseases Intelligence course. As a social scientist, she leads a program of research that is focused on the attitudes and behaviours of health consumers and health providers and how they impact on engagement with public health and health service strategies.

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