Patient autonomy and disclosure of material information about hospital-acquired infections

Infect Drug Resist. 2018 Mar 7;11:369-375. doi: 10.2147/IDR.S149590. eCollection 2018.


Hospital-acquired infections are nowadays a major health care problem worldwide. The morbidity and mortality associated with them are highest in intensive care units, but their effects are identifiable in virtually any medical department. Information about hospital-acquired infections, especially about their preventive measures, are rarely presented nowadays in a correct fashion to patients. This article aims to present, in a structured manner, the theoretical and practical aspects related to disclosure of hospital-acquired infections-related information to patients and its importance in preventing their spread. We will analyze both the conceptual framework for disclosing medical information related to nosocomial infections (autonomy, veracity, social justice, the principle of double effect, the precautionary principle, and nonmaleficence) and the practicalities regarding the disclosure of proper information to patients.

Keywords: informed consent; nosocomial infections; prevention; respect for autonomy; social justice.

Publication types

  • Review