Patient Rights and Healthcare-Associated Infection
The Journal of hospital infection 2011 Oct; 79(2): 99-102
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations in 1948, and since that time, human rights have become widely recognized and legally enforceable in many countries. Patient rights are now included in healthcare constitutions, such as that of the English National Health Service, and in professional codes of practice. Patient rights have a number of implications for the control of healthcare-associated infections (HCAI), including: (1) justification for infection control over and above economic benefit; (2) focus and emphasis on the individual patient experience; (3) identification of some of the actions taken to control infection as breaches of rights; (4) bridging professional, infection control and public health ethics; (5) a requirement to specify the conditions under which rights can be breached; and (6) grounds for those seeking compensation for HCAI. Assuring patient rights has the potential to improve the patient experience, and in so doing, improve public confidence in healthcare provision and providers.