Only 17.4 percent of ambulatory care nurses reported compliance in all nine standard precautions for infection prevention, according to a study published in the January issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official publication of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).
Researchers from Northwell Health (formerly North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System) conducted a study of 116 ambulatory care nurses to measure self-reported compliance with standard precautions, knowledge of hepatitis C virus (HCV), and behavioral factors influencing compliance. The highest rate of compliance was reported with always wearing gloves (92 percent), followed by always wearing a face mask (70 percent). Only 63 percent of participants reported that they always wash hands after removal of gloves and 82 percent reported that they always wash hands after provision of care.
The study also found knowledge of hcv was variable, with more than one in four (26 percent) erroneously believing that it is commonly spread through sexual contact, 14 percent incorrectly believing that hcv causes premature death, 12 percent not knowing hcv antibodies can be present without an infection, and 11 percent not knowing there are multiple HCV genotypes.
“Self-reported data might be an overestimate of actual compliance and that makes these results of particular concern for potential exposure to bloodborne diseases” concluded the study authors. “Overall, the ambulatory care nurses chose to implement some behaviors and not others, and this behavior puts them at risk for acquiring a bloodborne infection.”
Powers D, Armellino D, Dolansky M, Fitzpatrick J. Factors influencing nurse compliance with Standard Precautions. Am J Infec Control 2016; 44: 4-7.