Evaluation of the knowledge and attitudes to the standard precautions for infection control of the healthcare workers of a Portuguese central and university hospital.

Sofia Aires, Alice Carvalho, Ernestina Aires, Elsa Calado, Irene Aragão, Júlio Oliveira, António Polónia, Carlos Vasconcelos

Abstract


The Standard Precautions are measures to prevent healthcare workers' exposure to infectious agents, like HIV, HBV and HCV, through the routine use of techniques and appropriate barriers that reduce the exposure probability. These measures intend to prevent contact with blood and other fluids, potentially infected, contributing to the reduction of nosocomial infection.To evaluate the knowledge, attitudes and adherence to the standard precautions for infection control among the healthcare workers of the Hospital Geral de Santo António, through the application of a questionnaire. To identify the gaps of each professional group and clinical departments, in order to better define the needs to planning future education.Of the total of 172 questionnaires, 7% did not know about the standard precautions, the majority from medical staff. Importantly 21% affirm recapping needles. Globally, a low level knowledge about the ways HIV, HBV and HCV is transmitted was verified, mostly regarding the possibility of transmission from dishes and other material necessary to give food to the patients. About 95% considered it important to wash the hands in several different situations but 21% are unaware of alternative alcoholic solutions.There is a precarious knowledge of these measures, enhancing the risk of nosocomial infection and pointing to the need of specific education for all different health professionals.

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