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Unhygienic patient practices heighten hospital health risks

Update: February, 12/2011 - 10:29

Patients in HCM City's Paediatric Hospital No1. Lack of hygiene awareness among patients and carers is blamed for a rise in hospital infections in the city. — VNA/VNS Photo The Anh

Patients in HCM City's Paediatric Hospital No1. Lack of hygiene awareness among patients and carers is blamed for a rise in hospital infections in the city. — VNA/VNS Photo The Anh

HCM CITY — Low awareness among patients and their carer relatives is a major impediment to preventing hospital infections, HCM City doctors say.

A report by the Nguoi Lao Dong (The Labourer) newspaper yesterday quoted several doctors in city hospitals as saying unhygienic practices indulged in by patients and their relatives were causing serious consequences, including increasing fatalities.

Dr Nguyen Thi Thanh Ha, head of the city Paediatric Hospital No1's Hospital-Acquired Infection Control Ward, said habits like littering in hospitals by patients' carer relatives will increase the risk of hospital infection.

Although there were many dustbins placed throughout the hospital, many caretakers did not bother to use them, Ha said.

Many other doctors said that some relatives did not follow the hospital's regulations on wearing protective clothing including masks in the hospital's emergency, recovery and isolation wards.

They are not accustomed to wearing masks when visiting relatives with infectious diseases, and carry this practice into the hospitals, according to these doctors.

Dr La Thi The, head of the Pham Ngoc Thach Hospital's Hospital-Acquired Infection Control Ward, said that these habits should be changed in order to maintain proper hygiene in hospitals, which is key to controlling infections.

A report by the HCM City Institute of Hygiene and Public Health released last October showed that about 600,000 of the 7.5 million people hospitalised in Viet Nam every year contract infections at hospitals.

Hospital infection is one of the causes for increasing the rate of people getting afflicted by diseases, fatality rates, treatment time and costs as well as drug resistance.

According to Ha, limiting the number of people coming to the hospital to see their relatives is required to control hospital-acquired infections.

Other doctors said that hospital managers should meet and call on patients and their relatives regularly – once a week or month – to improve awareness of hospital infection control.

Tran Nguyen Hoang Phuong, a nurse at the Pham Ngoc Thach Hospital in District 5, said that the hospital held meetings with patients and their relatives once or twice a week in order to inform them that they were required to adopt several measures to maintain hygiene and protect patients' health.

These include the need to wash their hands regularly, wear protective clothing in the proper way and keep their rooms very clean.

Dr Nguyen Thi Le Hong, head of the Hospital-Acquired Infection Control Ward at the People's Hospital No115 in District 10, said that it was difficult to ensure that a large number of people who were in a hospital at any given time, maintain a clean environment and follow the hospital's regulations.

Around 4,000 patients' carer relatives stayed at her hospital during the day, not including people visiting patients, she said.

Therefore, it was very important that patients and their relatives act on their own volition to protect the health of their loved ones as well as other patients in the hospital, Ha added. — VNS

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