Emergency – poor hand hygiene

Shockingly hand hygiene compliance among emergency medical service (EMS) providers are critically low. Researchers from New York were curious about the hand and stethoscope hygiene practices, so they interviewed around 1400 EMS providers to reveal the truth.

The emergency is one of the most frequented place by people, being the first point of doctor-patient contact. Being an EMS provider is stressful, while they must react quickly to a problem, they might forget the basic tools of patient care.

According to the study only 33% of respondents reported that they cleaned their hands after performing invasive procedures and only 13% reported cleaning their hands before patient contact. Furthermore, only 13% reported cleaning their stethoscope. Increased provider age was also significantly associated with higher likelihood of washing. “Notably, those in the 60+ year group were more likely to wash before patient contact, after driving the ambulance and after performing invasive procedures as opposed to all of the age groups below them.”

Generally speaking, having soap around any working area, gives a bigger chance that medical staff will perform hand hygiene. Surprisingly, this study revealed that it was not relevant in hand hygiene compliance, but was slightly associated with increased stethoscope cleaning.