B.C.’s hospital physicians aren’t washing their hands as much as other health care professionals – and the gap has grown larger in recent years. Source: PICNET

Hand-washing key to halting coronavirus, but some B.C. hospitals not meeting hygiene goals

Doctors failing to wash their hands as much as they should, surveillance at hospitals show

As officials ask Canadians to wash their hands more to stem the spread of a novel coronavirus, doctors in B.C.’s hospitals will also have to do much better if they hope to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 and other communicable illnesses.

Across the province, doctors continue to fail to meet hand-hygiene targets and lag behind their health care colleagues. As a group, doctors wash their hands less than four out of every five times in which they should, according to surveillance at facilities across the province by the Provincial Infection Control Network of British Columbia [PICNET]. Monitors have found they have only washed their hands in about 71 per cent of the cases in which they should.

Nurses, support staff and other health care providers consistently perform much better – around 82 per cent provincewide – although the figure varies depending on the institution, and staff in many B.C. institutions fail to meet the province’s 80 per cent target. (The “expectation” is that staff wash their hands in 100 per cent of necessary cases.)

Studies around the globe have shown physicians regularly lag behind other health service providers. And physician hand-washing rates have actually decreased over the last four years.

In 2017, PICNet’s then-director Bruce Gamage told The News that some fatigue may have set in after success in boosting rates at the beginning of the decade. Indeed, hand-washing was much rarer. In Fraser Health, hand hygiene compliance was just 26 per cent in 2009/10.

RELATED: COVID-19: Six handwashing mistakes to avoid

FROM 2017: Doctors not meeting hand hygiene targets in B.C. hospitals

The spread of COVID-19 has increased attention on hand-washing, but good hand hygiene is also seen as a key way to reduce the spread of a number of c. difficile and MRSA.

PICNET also measures hand hygiene in residential care facilities. Staff in those facilities washed their hands as needed 88 per cent of the time – better than those in hospitals.

“Both patients in acute care facilities and residents in residential care facilities are vulnerable to health care associated infections, a leading cause of death for people receiving care within our health care system,” PICNET declares in its most recent report. “Healthcare providers, including nursing staff, physicians, clinical support services, and others such as housekeeping staff, should lead by example in maintaining good hand hygiene.”

See the graphic below to see how frequently staff at your local hospital washed their hands.

Hand-washing 2020
Infogram

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
tolsen@abbynews.com


@ty_olsen
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

WEATHER: Environment Canada forecasts snow for Ridge Meadows

Wednesday will see mostly sun and cloud

Maple Ridge HandyDART driver worried about safety with COVID-19

Union says operators need more personal protective equipment

Ridge Meadows RCMP release year end review video

List detachment’s successes throughout 2019

Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows issue fire bans

Cities say poor air quality from smoke could further exacerbate current COVID-19 climate

VIDEO: RCMP bring 7 p.m. parade to front doors of Ridge Meadows Hospital

Cruisers with lights and sirens blaring give boost to those working within

First Nations, remote communities need special attention in pandemic, Freeland says

Health-care workers, seniors, Indigenous Peoples some of people most at risk, health officials say

B.C.’s intersection speed cameras putting more tickets in the mail

One Nanaimo location delayed after speed limit reduced

Coquihalla closed in both directions, Medivac to land

DriveBC says drivers should expect delays of up to one hour

B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

Province continue to have a recovery rate of about 50 per cent

Catalytic converters stolen from ambulances being repaired in Delta

The thefts were reported on March 31, and police say they have no suspects at this time

B.C. teen donating stem cells for brother’s second fight with cancer

Chilliwack’s Fleming family appealing to the public to look into stem cell donation

High cost, limited coverage for asthma medicine a concern during COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. man says he skips puffs to save money, but others have it worse

B.C. man sick with COVID-19 calls it a ‘horrible disease’

Tim Green says he has ‘extreme coughing fits every hour’ to clear his lungs

Trudeau says Parliament needs to sit to pass expanded COVID-19 benefits

Wage subsidy program has been greatly expanded since it was first approved

Most Read