Hand hygiene amongst dental professionals in a tertiary dental clinic
Objective: To evaluate hand washing attitude and practices among Dentists and Dental Students treating patients in a Nigerian Tertiary Dental Clinic. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional survey of Dentists and Dental Students treating patients in University of Benin Teaching Hospital was conducted between February and March 2010. Data collection tool was a 28-item, self-administered questionnaire, which elicited information on demography, handwashing practices, material used for handwashing, methods ofdrying hands after washing, attitudes towards prevention of spread of infection by handwashing measures in dental practice, barrier to regular hand washing, information need on handwashing and mode in which they would desire to receive the needed information. Results: One-quarter (25.7%) of the respondents washes their hands before wearing gloves and 98.1% wash their hands when they are visibly soiled. Less than half (46.7%) washed their hand when the worn gloves are torn. Majority strongly agreed that hand washing helps to prevent transmission of infection to patients (91.4%), health workers (92.4%) and health workers family members (89.5%). The main barriers to regular hand hygiene were inadequate facilities, forgetfulness and lack of time. About 69.5% desired more information on hand hygiene with the most indicated area of information needs being the indications and steps in hand washing in form of seminars and pamphlets. Conclusion: This study revealed positive attitude to hand washing, inadequate hand washing practices and poor monitoring of hand hygiene in the health institution. The studied dental professionals however know that hand washing plays an important role in the prevention of cross infection.
Keywords: hand hygiene, dental professionals, tertiary, dental clinic, infection control