Infection control knowledge, attitudes, and practices among cystic fibrosis patients and their families

Pediatr Pulmonol. 2012 Feb;47(2):144-52. doi: 10.1002/ppul.21528. Epub 2011 Aug 24.


Background: In 2003, the Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Foundation in the United States published evidence-based infection control guidelines and distributed these to CF care centers. However, it is unclear how well the guidelines have been disseminated to patients and families, how well patients and families understand the principles of infection control, and what barriers they experience implementing the guidelines.

Methods: We assessed infection control knowledge, attitudes, and practices among CF patients and their families at 17 randomly selected CF centers. Anonymous surveys were completed by CF patients (≥16 years old) or their family members (patients <16 years old). To adjust for similarities of patients within each center, generalized estimating equations regression was used.

Results: From January 2007 to May 2009, 1,399 respondents completed surveys of whom 38% were patients and 62% were family members (overall mean age of patients = 14 years). Overall, 65% of respondents were aware of the CF infection control guidelines, but only 30% had discussed them more than once with their CF care team. More than one discussion was associated with increased knowledge of infection control, including routes of pathogen transmission; the importance of avoiding close contact with other CF patients; increased confidence in practicing infection control; and increased belief in the health benefits of infection control.

Conclusions: This study revealed that many CF patients and families are aware of the infection control guidelines, but that few had discussed them more than once with their CF teams. These findings underscore the importance of engaging patients and their families in regular discussions about infection control that address questions and concerns including the potential impact of infection control on health and well-being. Further strategies are needed to overcome barriers to implementing these guidelines.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cystic Fibrosis / microbiology*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Infection Control / standards*
  • Male
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • United States
  • Young Adult