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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(8), 843; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14080843

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

1
Department of Hygiene and Health Promotion, Medical University of Lodz, 90-647 Lodz, Poland
2
Department of Econometrics, University of Lodz, 90-214 Lodz, Poland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 24 May 2017 / Revised: 20 July 2017 / Accepted: 25 July 2017 / Published: 27 July 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Occupational Safety and Health)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [313 KB, uploaded 27 July 2017]

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. View Full-Text
Keywords: behaviours; infectious material; knowledge; occupational exposure; paramedics behaviours; infectious material; knowledge; occupational exposure; paramedics
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Garus-Pakowska, A.; Górajski, M.; Szatko, F. 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. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 843.

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