Marvin J. Bittner, MD; Jared M. Routh, MD; Matthew D. Folchert, MD; Nicholas E. Woessner; Sean J. Kennedy, BS; Chase C. Parks, BS
Background: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended teaching patients to remind health care workers to disinfect their hands. However, cognitive impairment among patients may hamper such efforts.
Methods: The St. Louis University Mental Status (SLUMS) Examination was administered to randomly selected inpatients at the Omaha VA Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska. We asked patients and their families about attitudes toward reminding health care workers to disinfect their hands: willingness, feeling comfortable, and feeling responsible.
Results: Of 143 patients, 94 completed SLUMS; 9 had normal mental status and appropriate attitudes. Overall, 16 encounters involved patients or family who were well-suited for giving reminders.
Conclusion: Programs to encourage hospitalized adults to remind staff to perform hand hygiene may encounter barriers related to cognitive impairment and attitudes.