Emergency department physicians in Greece: do they comply with the hygiene rules?

E. Fafliora1, G. Mantzouranis2, 1, V. G. Bampalis1, I. Spiliopoulou3, M. Christofidou3
1 Department of General Medicine, University Hospital of Patras, Patras, Greece; 2 Health Unit Evinoxoriou, General Hospital of Mesologgi, Mesologgi, Greece; 3 Department of Microbiology, School of Medicine,University of Patras, Patras, Greece;
Objective: Poor hygiene strategies and the subsequent contamination with microbial flora of devices and items may contribute to spread of nosocomial infections. The aim of this study was to investigate the cleaning habits of physicians and their impact on bacterial load.
Methods: The present study was conducted in a University Hospital. Forty-six Emergency Department physicians completed a closed-type questionnaire regarding their cleaning habits, while bacteriological culture swabs from their stethoscopes were obtained. The samples were processed by standard laboratory methods and colony forming units (CFUs) were calculated.
Results: Forty-three (93.5%) of the participants reported that washed their hands, while only 31 (68.2%) of them repeatedly after every patient’s examination. All physicians believed that they should clean their tools, but only 13% cleaned their stethoscope after every patient’s examination. The vast majority reported lack of education about either the necessity of hygiene practices (89.1%) or the means used for the above purpose (97.8%), whilst 7 out of 10 strongly agreed on the need of creating such training programs. All sampled stethoscopes had bacterial contamination. Among them 73.9% showed >1000 CFUs per stethoscope; women had more often the less contaminated ones (p=0.050). Stethoscopes cleaned after every examination or every shift were significantly less contaminated as compared to those cleaned randomly (p=0.040).
Conclusions: This study revealed a low physician’s compliance with the hygiene practices and a subsequent heavy contamination of their stethoscopes. The urgent need of establishing strict hygiene training programs is underlined.

Disclosure: No conflict of interest declared