French Researchers Share Results of National Audit on Standard Precautions

Standard precautions (SP) aim to protect healthcare workers (HCWs) and patients from infectious diseases arising from bloodborne pathogens and reduce the risk of cross-transmission of microorganisms. They must be applied in all circumstances, regardless of the infectious status of the patient. Giard et al. (2013) conducted a study  to assess institutional policies for SP promotion; available resources for SP implementation; and education of HCWs and their compliance with SP.

The study was a mixed audit of procedures, resources and attitudes, conducted between Feb. 1, 2011 and Dec. 31, 2011, supported by the Ministry of Health. Inclusion criteria were voluntary public and private hospitals in France, medical, surgical and medico-technical wards therein and HCWs working with patients in these wards. Self-assessment questionnaires were administered at three levels: institutional, ward and HCWs. At institutional and ward levels, results were given as a percentage of objectives attained; at professional level, percentages of responses reported as never, sometimes, often or always were calculated for each question.

A total of 1,599 hospitals participated, including 14,968 wards and 203,840 HCW. At the institutional level, the overall score was 88%, covering: SP promotion (91%), procedures (99%) and SP evaluation (63%). At the ward level, the overall score was 94%, covering: procedures (95%) and resources (93%). Among the 165,722 (81.3%) HCWs who reported having participated in a training session on SP, 69.6% had had it in the last five years. A total of 88.1% of HCWs knew where to find the appropriate written procedure in the event of a blood exposure. HCWs reported the best compliance for glove changing between two patients (94.5% always). The less respected criteria were glove use for intramuscular or subcutaneous injection and eye protection use in the event of blood exposure risk (34.5% and 24.4% always, respectively).

Reference: Giard M, Laprugne-Garcia E, et al. Oral presentation O005 at 2nd International Conference on Prevention and Infection Control (ICPIC 2013): Results of the French national audit on standard precautions. Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control 2013, 2(Suppl 1):O5 doi:10.1186/2047-2994-2-S1-O5.