Publications & Reports

Health professionals' attitudes toward caring for people with hepatitis C.

J A Richmond, T L Dunning, P V Desmond
Gastroenterology Department, St Vincent's Health, Melbourne, Australia. jacqui.richmond@svhm.org.au

Abstract

An estimated 170 million people worldwide have hepatitis C, which is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality. Therefore, health professionals (HPs) are likely to care for people with hepatitis C at some stage in their careers. However, little is known about HPs' attitudes towards treating people with hepatitis C. An analytical, cross-sectional survey was conducted to explore the inter-relationship among HPs' hepatitis C knowledge and attitudes towards treating people with hepatitis C and their self-reported clinical behaviour: Self-administered questionnaires were distributed to 3675 complementary therapists, dentists, medical practitioners, nurses, pharmacists, undergraduate medical and nursing students and people with hepatitis C in Victoria, Australia. Forty-six per cent responded (n = 1510). Only HP (complementary therapists, dentists, medical practitioners, nurses and pharmacists) data is presented (n = 1347). Most HPs demonstrated adequate hepatitis C knowledge, but some displayed intolerant attitudes toward people with hepatitis C. Their self-reported compliance with infection control practices indicated that they frequently treated people with hepatitis C differently from other patients by using additional infection control precautions while treating patients with hepatitis C. In addition, fear of contagion and disapproval of injecting drug use emerged as barriers to their willingness to treat people with hepatitis C. The results suggest that focusing education strategies on changing HPs' attitudes toward people with hepatitis C, injecting drug users, and infection control guidelines rather than concentrating solely on medical information might ultimately improve patient care.

Publication

  • Journal: Journal of Viral Hepatitis
  • Published: 01/09/2007
  • Volume: 14
  • Issue: 9
  • Pagination: 624-632

Author