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

Students from Summerland’s Okanagan College often posed for photographs on the Big Rock. The rock was on the northern slope of Giant’s Head Mountain. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)
Summerland’s Big Rock had been desposited during last ice age

Rock was once a prominent feature on Giant’s Head Mountain

The Fortunato family received the Bill Neilson Volunteer of the Year Award for their efforts with the Summerland Skating Club. (Contributed)
Summerland Skating Club members recognized for efforts

Three awards presented to members of Summerland club

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
30 new COVID-19 cases, five more deaths in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases to 7,271 since testing began

(Stock photo)
EDITORIAL: The freedom to read

Books have been challenged many times in the past

The dam at Thirsk Lake, west of Summerland, was expanded in 2007. A crack has now been discovered where the old and new portions of the dam meet. (Summerland Review file photo)
Crack at Thirsk Dam to be examined

Reservoir west of Summerland was expanded in 2007

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

“Support your city” reads a piece of graffiti outside the Ministry of Finance office. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Slew of anti-bylaw graffiti ‘unacceptable’ says Victoria mayor, police

Downtown businesses, bylaw office and Ministry of Finance vandalized Wednesday morning

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Ranchero Deep Creek firefighters respond to a blaze involving two adjacent structures at a property off of Deep Creek Road on Sunday, Feb. 21. The buildings were believed to have been used as part of a cannabis growing operation, and RCMP are investigating. (Sean Coubrough/CSRD photo)
Ranchero Deep Creek firefighters respond to a blaze involving two adjacent structures at a property off of Deep Creek Road on Sunday, Feb. 21. The buildings were believed to have been used as part of a cannabis growing operation, and RCMP are investigating. (Sean Coubrough/CSRD photo)
Shuswap firefighters responding to structure blaze find cannabis grow operation

RCMP investigating, attempting to track down owner of property

Interior Health officially declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Creekside Landing in Vernon on Jan. 3, which was followed by the first death from the virus 10 days later. (Kaigo photo)
COVID outbreak over at Vernon care home

Creekside Landing cleared of coronavirus, despite additional death in last day

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

Most Read