Study: 13 Percent Of EMS Workers Clean Hands Before Patient Contact

ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say wearing gloves is still not enough to prevent the transmission of pathogens in healthcare settings.

They additionally recommend that medical providers wear gloves.

However, according to a new study from Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, N.J., only 13 percent of emergency medical providers reported cleaning their hands before patient contact.

“What we found was a little concerning,” Dr. Josh Bucher, a resident at the hospital and one of the study’s authors, told CBS News. “Gloves and hand-washing are supposed to be combined.”

The study found that only 52 percent of emergency care providers wore gloves with patient contact. Only 33 percent said they washed their hands after performing invasive procedures.

Dr. Bucher says hand washing should be done before and after touching a patient, and before and after performing a procedure.

“Overall rates of hand-washing are not great,” he added.

The study also found that having a bar of soap on hand in an ambulance did not affect hygiene, but did note that older providers were more inclined to wash their hands than younger ones.

Dr. Bucher stated that hand-washing training varies between departments.

“It is not really standardized,” he additionally noted.

Almost 1,500 EMS providers participated in the online study, which was presented last month at the American College of Emergency Physicians annual meeting in Seattle but has yet to be published.

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