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

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

Members of the 100 Mile RCMP cracked down on prohibited drivers on Wednesday, Nov. 25 along with the Williams Lake RCMP. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
RCMP Joint Force Operation targets ‘priority offenders and prohibited drivers’ in 100 Mile area

Officers from 100 Mile House and Williams Lake were involved in this roving operation

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 65 new cases of COVID-19

Province-wide, there are 887 new cases of the virus

Arthur Topham has been sentenced to one month of house arrest and three years of probation after breaching the terms of his probation. Topham was convicted of promoting hate against Jewish people in 2015. (Photo submitted)
Quesnel man convicted for anti-Semitic website sentenced to house arrest for probation breach

Arthur Topham was convicted of breaching probation following his 2017 sentence for promoting hatred

School District 27 announced the first confirmed case of COVID-19 this week at Lake City Secondary School Williams Lake campus. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘It was just a matter of time’: SD27 superintendent confirms two COVID-19 cases at LCSS

An entire PE class is self-isolating as Interior Health engages in contact tracing

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 887 new cases

Another 13 deaths, ties the highest three days ago

Langley School District's board office. (Langley Advance Times files)
‘Sick Out’ aims to pressure B.C. schools over masks, class sizes

Parents from Langley and Surrey are worried about COVID safety in classrooms

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The baby boy born to Gillian and Dave McIntosh of Abbotsford was released from hospital on Wednesday (Nov. 25) while Gillian continues to fight for her life after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
B.C. mom with COVID-19 still fighting for life while newborn baby now at home

Son was delivered Nov. 10 while Gillian McIntosh was in an induced coma

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. Premier John Horgan, a Star Trek fan, can’t resist a Vulcan salute as he takes the oath of office for a second term in Victoria, Nov. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
Horgan names 20-member cabinet with same pandemic team

New faces in education, finance, economic recovery

The corporate headquarters of Pfizer Canada are seen in Montreal, Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. The chief medical adviser at Health Canada says Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine could be approved in Canada next month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Health Canada expects first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved next month

Canada has a purchase deal to buy at least 20 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine,

FILE – A paramedic holds a test tube containing a blood sample during an antibody testing program at the Hollymore Ambulance Hub, in Birmingham, England, on Friday, June 5, 2020. (Simon Dawson/Pool via AP)
Want to know if you’ve had COVID-19? LifeLabs is offering an antibody test

Test costs $75 and is available in B.C. and Ontario

The grey region of this chart shows the growth of untraced infection, due to lack of information on potential sources. With added staff and reorganization, the gap is stabilized, Dr. Bonnie Henry says. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 tracing to keep up with surging cases

People now notified of test results by text message

Most Read