Examining the inclusion of patients and their family members in infection prevention and control policies and guidelines across three countries

Ms Ji Yeon Park1, Dr Holly  Seale1, Dr Jerico Pardosi2

1School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia,
2School of Public Health and Social Work, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia


Interventions aimed at curbing the rise of healthcare associated infections (HAI) mainly focus on healthcare workers (HCWs) reflecting the primary-care-providers in the western countries. However, it is considered a norm in many Asian countries that family members assist the patient with inpatient care activities. Considering the level of familial involvement in the patient care, it is important to examine whether the family member is reflected in the infection prevention and control (IPC) guidelines/policies in Asian countries, namely Bangladesh, Indonesia and South Korea.


Policies/guidelines on IPC from focus countries were searched with attention to the following key areas; definition of ‘carer’ in hospital setting, reference to patient/family participation, and education/communication. The guidelines from the selected countries were compared to those from global organisations (WHO and CDC), and four Western countries, Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and United States.


Only five out of ninety-one papers acknowledged that care provision to hospitalised patients by their families in hospital setting and only one recommended that family members receive the same level of training as healthcare workers if they were involved in the inpatient care. None of policies/guidelines from the focus countries acknowledged the care provision to hospitalised patients by their family members.


While HCWs are the primary actors when it comes to providing care in hospital setting, it is important that IPC policies/guidelines should be expanded to reflect the role of other caregivers. The results of this study highlight the gaps between the actual practices and policies/guidelines in the selected countries.


Ji Park is a PhD candidate at the School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney. Her main area of research and interest is in healthcare associated infections, infection prevention and control strategies, hand hygiene, patient empowerment, health communication, health literacy and patient safety.

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