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

Rev. Sulin Milne at St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Comox is part of those helping distribute food to those in need within the town. Photo by Jim Peacock
Comox church serving the community with food through COVID-19

“We knew there were so many people who were facing economic challenges …”

Cole Moore with one of his sisters, Jasmin Moore. Photo supplied
Courtenay man looks to brain surgery for second chance

Cole Moore’s sister sets up GoFundMe to help father looking after brother

Comox Valley RCMP had access to 20 Street blocked off between Cousins and Choquette avenues as they conducted a raid of a house on the block. Photo by Terry Farrell
Nineteen people arrested, charges expected in Courtenay house raid

Investigators are continuing to comb through evidence seized

Demonstrators gathered Friday, March 5 at the Courtenay Court House, demanding protection of old-growth forests. Scott Stanfield photo
Concerned citizens march in Courtenay in name of old-growth rainforests

The Comox Valley is one of the B.C. communities engaged in mobilization… Continue reading

LUSH Valley’s partnership with School District 71 this past year helped feed 200 students and families through the Good Food Box program. Screenshot, LUSH Valley/Comox Valley Schools video
LUSH Valley-Comox Valley School Good Food Boxes fed 200 families in 2020

Non-profit organization is looking for new ways to collaborate with school district

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

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

More than ever before, as pandemic conditions persist, the threat of data breaches and cyberattacks continues to grow, according to SFU professor Michael Parent. (Pixabay photo)
SFU expert unveils 5 ways the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed cybersecurity

Recognizing these changes is the first in a series of steps to mitigate them once the pandemic ends, and before the next: Michael Parent

The CVRD building in Courtenay.
Comox Valley organizations in need receive funding

The Comox Valley Regional Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) has approved $55,000 in… Continue reading

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

A virtual public hearing for a rezoning application for a Comox property was held on March 3. Black Press file photo
No comments at public hearing for Anderton Road rezoning application

The virtual public hearing was held on March 3 for the Comox properties

Most Read