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Study: Hand-Washing Rates Low Among Emergency Medical Personnel

Thu, 11/14/2013 - 9:10am
Shannon Luibrand

A new study shows only 13 percent of emergency medical providers reported cleaning their hands before patient contact, according to the study from Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, N.J.

"What we found was a little concerning," Dr. Josh Bucher, a resident at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital and one of the study's authors, told CBSNews.com.

The study, which was administered through an online survey and distributed via email to national and regional emergency medical organizations, looked at almost 1,500 EMS providers. The results revealed a number of troubling trends.

Only 52 percent of emergency care respondents, which includes first responders, emergency medical providers, paramedics and a small portion of physicians, reported that they wear gloves with every patient contact.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), wearing gloves is still not enough to prevent the transmission of pathogens in healthcare settings.

"Gloves and hand-washing are supposed to be combined," Bucher said.

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