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Point of Care Stations: A Novel Way to Improve Stethoscope Hygiene
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 02 November 2020
Background: Stethoscopes are known to be highly contaminated by a multitude of bacteria and therefore carry the potential to transmit pathogens within hospitals. North American infection prevention groups recommend low-level disinfection of stethoscopes for bioburden reduction between patients; however, adherence remains low in inpatient settings. Given that the lack of access to disinfection materials is the most commonly reported barrier to stethoscope hygiene, we studied an intervention using a point-of-care approach to increase stethoscope hygiene compliance among healthcare workers in critical care units. Methods: This quality improvement study was conducted in 2 critical-care units of a quaternary-care, academic, health sciences center in Toronto, Canada. We designed novel stethoscope hygiene stations consisting of a wall-mounted board with alcohol wipes, hooks for drying, and hand sanitizer dispensers to combine stethoscope and hand hygiene. Observations of stethoscope disinfection events per opportunity were collected by trained human auditors before and after the multimodal intervention, which consisted of the installation of 14 stations at the entrances of single-patient ICU rooms, accompanied by educational lectures and infographic dissemination. Anonymous feedback forms were used to gather information on healthcare workers’ stethoscope hygiene knowledge and behavior before and after the intervention. Results: In total, 124 observations were collected using convenience sampling between February and July 2019. Overall stethoscope hygiene compliance increased significantly from a baseline of 38% to 62% (P = .0316) (Fig. 1). Physician adherence to stethoscope disinfection increased by 22%. During the study period, hand hygiene compliance remained unchanged at 75%. Also, 74 healthcare providers completed feedback forms; they revealed an increase in awareness of stethoscope hygiene policies and/or recommendations (9% to 41%) and self reports of stethoscope hygiene compliance (28% to 44%). Conclusions: The implementation of stethoscope hygiene stations, coupled with an educational initiative, lead to a significant increase in overall stethoscope hygiene compliance among healthcare workers. Future quality improvement initiatives can adapt this strategy to promote disinfection and reduce pathogen burden of other personal and multiuse medical equipment.
Disclosures: Susy Hota reports contract research for Finch Therapeutics.
- Poster Presentations
- Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology , Volume 41 , Issue S1: The Sixth Decennial International Conference on Healthcare-Associated Infections Abstracts, March 2020: Global Solutions to Antibiotic Resistance in Healthcare , October 2020 , pp. s493 - s494
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