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Awareness of the Risk of Exposure to Infectious Material and the Behaviors of Polish Paramedics with Respect to the Hazards from Blood-Borne Pathogens-A Nationwide Study.

Awareness of the Risk of Exposure to Infectious Material and the Behaviors of Polish Paramedics with Respect to the Hazards from Blood-Borne Pathogens-A Nationwide Study.
Author Information (click to view)

Garus-Pakowska A, Górajski M, Szatko F,


Garus-Pakowska A, Górajski M, Szatko F, (click to view)

Garus-Pakowska A, Górajski M, Szatko F,

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International journal of environmental research and public health 2017 07 2714(8) pii 10.3390/ijerph14080843

Abstract

(1) Background: To determine paramedics’ frequency of contact with blood and other body fluids, as well as the analysis of knowledge of paramedics about blood-borne infections, their attitudes to patients infected with blood-borne viruses, and the post-exposure procedures implemented by paramedics; (2) Methods: An anonymous questionnaire among 190 paramedics working in various health care facilities in Poland (adjusted response rate, 76.3%); (3) Results: 78% of paramedics had contact with potentially infectious material at least several times a week. Paramedics’ knowledge on transferring infection was insufficient. Paramedics with longer employment time and better professional experience suffered fewer injuries with used needles/medical tools (p = 0.079). Most frequently reported factors that prevented the use of personal protective equipment were emergency situations (19.5%), skin irritations and contact allergies (19%) and, in the case of protective gloves, reduced manual dexterity (16%). In total, 82% of paramedics were concerned about the risk of being infected with HIV, HBV or HCV as a result of performing their job. In total, 97% of paramedics behaved more carefully while caring for infected patients. In total, 90% of the paramedics never refrained from performing the specific procedures necessary to help the patient whom they knew to be infected; (4) Conclusions: Despite the paramedics’ insufficient theoretical knowledge about the risk of blood-borne infections, the emphasis in the training of future paramedics should be on classes perfecting practical skills, because growing experience significantly reduces the risk of injury.

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