Background: Hospital-associated infections are associated with morbidity, extended hospital stay, mortality, and attributable costs to the health care sector.
Methods: A survey of 450 patients admitted to hospitals in Italy determined knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors regarding hospital-associated infections. A face-to-face interview sought information about: patient's sociodemographic characteristics; hospital admissions and examinations; knowledge, understanding, attitudes, and experience of health care-associated infections; and sources for information.
Results: Patients who were higher educated, unmarried, first-time admitted, and who have received information about hospital-associated infections were more likely to know definition, risk groups, and risk factors of such infections. Respondents' levels of perceived risk of contracting a hospital-associated infection were significantly higher in those who were married, unemployed, in medical wards, who overestimated the incidence rate, and who believed that health care professionals cannot infect patients. Patients willing to stop a health care worker who is not using gloves and mask were females, higher educated, those who believed that health care professionals can infect patients, who overestimated the incidence rate, who have never been exposed to such infections, who have never had received information, and who do not need information about hospital-associated infections.
Conclusions: Actions aimed at improving knowledge are crucial to the development and implementation of effective public health preventive strategies.