Family caregivers in public tertiary care hospitals in Bangladesh: Risks and opportunities for infection control

M. Saiful Islam, Stephen P. Luby, Rebeca Sultana, Nadia Ali Rimi, Rashid Uz Zaman, Main Uddin, Nazmun Nahar, Mahmudur Rahman, M. Jahangir Hossain, Emily S. Gurley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Background Family caregivers are integral to patient care in Bangladeshi public hospitals. This study explored family caregivers' activities and their perceptions and practices related to disease transmission and prevention in public hospitals. Methods Trained qualitative researchers conducted a total of 48 hours of observation in 3 public tertiary care hospitals and 12 in-depth interviews with family caregivers. Results Family caregivers provided care 24 hours a day, including bedside nursing, cleaning care, and psychologic support. During observations, family members provided 2,065 episodes of care giving, 75% (1,544) of which involved close contact with patients. We observed family caregivers washing their hands with soap on only 4 occasions. The majority of respondents said diseases are transmitted through physical contact with surfaces and objects that have been contaminated with patient secretions and excretions, and avoiding contact with these contaminated objects would help prevent disease. Conclusion Family caregivers are at risk for hospital-acquired infection from their repeated exposure to infectious agents combined with their inadequate hand hygiene and knowledge about disease transmission. Future research should explore potential strategies to improve family caregivers' knowledge about disease transmission and reduce family caregiver exposures, which may be accomplished by improving care provided by health care workers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-310
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Infection Control
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Caregiving practice
  • Hospital-acquired infection
  • Qualitative research
  • Socio-cultural

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


Dive into the research topics of 'Family caregivers in public tertiary care hospitals in Bangladesh: Risks and opportunities for infection control'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this