Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Staphoscope- A Potential Vector for Healthcare Associated Infections

I have previously blogged about our dirty stethoscopes (staphoscopes) and about possible disinfection strategies at the point of care. 

Here is a recent entry from the National Patient Safety Foundation Blog on 'Foaming in and Foaming Out,' both in the context of hand hygiene and stethoscope disinfection. 

An ongoing challenge for infection prevention professionals is accurately estimating the degree to which an instrument such as a stethoscope is responsible for hospital acquired infections. This would support the argument of decontaminating stethoscopes and any other material which comes into direct contact with patients in the clinical environment.

Much like hand hygiene, the disinfection of stethoscopes will require a behavioral change, aided by education, ubiquitous access to disinfection wipes, observation, feedback and accountability. 

To date, there is no prospective study assessing the impact of stethoscope disinfection on the rate of hospital acquired infections so making a convincing argument in favor of a behavior change is based on commonsense and biological plausibility. 

Changing behavior is much easier said than done.

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