The overall aim of the present thesis was to investigate experiences of living with multidrug-resistant bacteria (MDRB), using methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) colonization as an illustration, and to develop and validate a tool to describe healthcare personnel’s attitudes towards patients with MDRB. A further objective was to study MRSA-colonized persons’ and healthcare personnel’s experiences of patient-professional interactions and responsibilities for infection prevention.Four empirical studies were conducted. A total of 18 MRSA-colonized persons and 20 healthcare personnel were interviewed regarding their experiences, and a total of 726 RNs responded the MDRB Attitude Questionnaire.The findings revealed the difficulties associated with living with MRSA colonization, which was described as something uncertain, and as an indefinable threat that has to be managed in both everyday life and in contacts with healthcare. Interactions with healthcare personnel were described as unprofessional owing to personnel’s inappropriate behaviour and insufficient information provision. According to the personnel, achieving adequate patient-professional interactions required having knowledge and experiences of MRSA. They also experienced difficulties in providing tailored information to patients. The MRSA-colonized persons described their unwanted responsibility to inform healthcare personnel about the colonization, but also felt responsible for limiting the spread of infection to others. Furthermore, responsibility for infection control was regarded as shared between healthcare personnel and patients. The personnel described such responsibility as a natural part of their daily work, although it was not always easy to adhere to hygiene precautions. The MRSA-colonized persons felt that healthcare personnel have insufficient knowledge of the bacteria and of hygiene precautions. The MDRB Attitude Questionnaire showed that registered nurses do have knowledge deficiencies. The MDRB Attitude Questionnaire has adequate psychometric properties.In conclusion, MRSA colonization constitutes a psychological strain for carriers, and interactions with healthcare personnel resulted in feelings of stigmatization. The present thesis indicates that there is a need to improve healthcare personnel’s knowledge, behaviour and emotional response in relation to patients with MDRB, in order to ensure patient safety and address patients’ needs. The heads of department is responsible for such improvements, and the MDRB Attitude Questionnaire is useful in identifying areas in need for improvement.
MEDICIN OCH HÄLSOVETENSKAP -- Hälsovetenskaper -- Omvårdnad (hsv//swe)
MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES -- Health Sciences -- Nursing (hsv//eng)