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Examining the inclusion of patients and their family members in infection prevention and control policies and guidelines across Bangladesh, Indonesia, and South Korea

Background: Although familial involvement during inpatient care is not uncommon in western countries, the types of caring activities that family members in Asian countries provide are significantly different. These activities may place the family member at risk from a health care-associated infection. This study aimed to examine whether the role of patients' families has been accounted for in the infection prevention and control (IPC) guidelines and policy, using examples from Bangladesh (low-income country), Indonesia (middle-income country), and South Korea (high-income country). Methods: The World Health Organization website and Institutional Repository for Information Sharing, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, Australian Government Web Archive, Open Grey, Grey Matters, World Bank, and advanced Google search, as well as the Health Department/Ministry of Health websites for each target country and 4 western countries (Australia, Canada, England, and the United States) were searched. Other databases, such as Embase, Medline, CINAHL, Global Health, ProQuest databases, Google scholar, Web of Science, and Scopus were also searched. This was to review the reflection of the cultural influence in IPC policies/guidelines by reviewing those from the global organizations, which are often used as a blueprint for policy development, as well as those from western countries, which hold different cultures in care arrangement. Search was conducted with attention to the key areas: definition and role of carer in the acute health care facility, involvement of patients/family members in IPC activities, patient and family member hand hygiene, and IPC education. Results: Ninety-two articles were identified based on the criteria for the study. Only 6 acknowledged that care is provided to hospitalized patients by their family members, and only 1 recommended that family members receive the same level of training as health care workers on IPC precautions. Other guides recommended the provision of information on IPC measures as means of patient involvement in the IPC program. Recognition of family caregivers or inclusion of them in the IPC strategies was not included in the target countries' guidelines. Conclusions: Although health care workers are the primary actors when it comes to providing care in acute health care settings, it is important to expand the IPC guides by considering the role of other caregivers. Policies and guidelines should reflect the cultural influence over healthcare. This is especially true when cultural values strongly influence over healthcare arrangements and the healthcare accommodates these cultural influences in the practice. Further work needs to be undertaken on the level of training/education provided to family members in Bangladesh, Indonesia, and South Korea. 

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American Journal of Infection Control
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