CJEM Articles: infection control
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Examination of staphylococcal stethoscope contamination in the emergency department (pilot) study (EXSSCITED pilot study)July 2011 13 4Andrew Worster, Cheryl L. Main, Jocelyn A. Srigley, Patrick H.P. Tang
Introduction: The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of Staphylococcus-contaminated stethoscopes belonging to emergency department (ED) staff and to identify the proportion of these that were Staphylococcus aureus or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
Methods: We conducted a prospective observational cohort study of bacterial cultures from 100 ED staff members' stethoscopes at three EDs. Study participants were asked to complete a questionnaire.
Results: Fifty-four specimens grew coagulase-negative staphylococci and one grew methicillin-susceptible S. aureus. No MRSA was cultured. Only 8% of participants, all of whom were nurses, reported cleaning their stethoscope before or after each patient assessment. Alcohol-based wipes were most commonly used to clean stethoscopes. A lack of time, being too busy, and forgetfulness were the most frequently reported reasons for not cleaning the stethoscope in the ED.
Conclusions: This study indicates that although stethoscope contamination rates in these EDs are high, the prevalence of S. aureus or MRSA on stethoscopes is low.
Amy C. Plint, Kathryn N. Suh, Ken J. Farion, Nicholas J. Barrowman, Sarah M. Reid, Tobey Audcent
Objective: Numerous barriers to maintaining infection control practices through the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) exist in the emergency department (ED). This study examined the knowledge, self-reported behaviours, and barriers to compliance with infection control practices and the use of PPE in Canadian pediatric EDs.
Methods: A self-administered survey instrument consisting of 21 questions was developed and piloted for this study. The survey was mailed to all individuals listed in the Pediatric Emergency Research Canada database of physicians practicing pediatric emergency medicine in Canada.
Results: A total of 186 physicians were surveyed, and 123 (66%) participated. Twenty-two percent of participants reported that they had never received PPE training and 32% had not been trained in the previous 2 years. Fifty-three percent reported being very or somewhat comfortable with their knowledge of transmission-based isolation practices. Participants were correct on a mean of 4.9 of 11 knowledge-based questions (SD 1.7). For scenarios assessing self-reported use of PPE, participants selected answers that reflected PPE use in accordance with national infection control standards in a mean of 1.0 of 6 scenarios (SD 1.0). Participants reported that they would be more likely to use PPE if patients were clearly identified prior to physician assessment, equipment was accessible, and PPE use was made a priority in their ED.
Conclusions: Knowledge and self-reported adherence to recommended infection control practices among Canadian pediatric emergency physicians is suboptimal. Early identification of patients requiring PPE, convenient access to PPE, and improved education regarding isolation and PPE practices may improve adherence.