WVU study gets wide attention

To keep from spreading illness among their patients, the best action healthcare providers can take is to wash their hands. Dr. Allison Lastinger, a fellow at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, recently led an investigation into whether adult patients and the parents of pediatric patients felt more comfortable asking their doctors and nurses to wash their hands, or reminding them by holding up a sign called a Patient Empowerment Tool (PET).

The study, performed at J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital, has garnered national attention since its August 2017 coverage in the “American Journal of Infection Control.” Results indicate that although parents and adult patients felt equally comfortable using the PET, parents were about 20% more likely to feel obligated to speak up if practitioners didn’t wash their hands. To Lastinger’s knowledge, this study is the first to tease apart parents’ and adult patients’ feelings in this regard.