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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Healthcare workers and health care-associated infections: knowledge, attitudes, and behavior in emergency departments in Italy

Cristiana Parmeggiani, Rossella Abbate, Paolo Marinelli and Italo F Angelillo*

Author Affiliations

Department of Public, Clinical and Preventive Medicine, Second University of Naples, Naples, Italy

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2010, 10:35  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-35

Published: 23 February 2010

Abstract

Background

This survey assessed knowledge, attitudes, and compliance regarding standard precautions about health care-associated infections (HAIs) and the associated determinants among healthcare workers (HCWs) in emergency departments in Italy.

Methods

An anonymous questionnaire, self-administered by all HCWs in eight randomly selected non-academic acute general public hospitals, comprised questions on demographic and occupational characteristics; knowledge about the risks of acquiring and/or transmitting HAIs from/to a patient and standard precautions; attitudes toward guidelines and risk perceived of acquiring a HAI; practice of standard precautions; and sources of information.

Results

HCWs who know the risk of acquiring Hepatitis C (HCV) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) from a patient were in practice from less years, worked fewer hours per week, knew that a HCW can transmit HCV and HIV to a patient, knew that HCV and HIV infections can be serious, and have received information from educational courses and scientific journals. Those who know that gloves, mask, protective eyewear, and hands hygiene after removing gloves are control measures were nurses, provided care to fewer patients, knew that HCWs' hands are vehicle for transmission of nosocomial pathogens, did not know that a HCW can transmit HCV and HIV to a patient, and have received information from educational courses and scientific journals. Being a nurse, knowing that HCWs' hands are vehicle for transmission of nosocomial pathogens, obtaining information from educational courses and scientific journals, and needing information were associated with a higher perceived risk of acquiring a HAI. HCWs who often or always used gloves and performed hands hygiene measures after removing gloves were nurses, provided care to fewer patients, and knew that hands hygiene after removing gloves was a control measure.

Conclusions

HCWs have high knowledge, positive attitudes, but low compliance concerning standard precautions. Nurses had higher knowledge, perceived risk, and appropriate HAIs' control measures than physicians and HCWs answered correctly and used appropriately control measures if have received information from educational courses and scientific journals.