The impact of educational interventions on primary health care workers' knowledge of occupational exposure to blood or body fluids

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AimTo assess the impact of educational interventions on primary health care workers’ knowledge of management of occupational exposure to blood or body fluids.MethodsCluster-randomized trial of educational interventions in two National Health Service board areas in Scotland. Medical and dental practices were randomized to four groups; Group A, a control group of practices where staff received no intervention, Group B practices where staff received a flow chart regarding the management of blood and body fluid exposures, Group C received an e-mail alert containing the flow chart and Group D practices received an oral presentation of information in the flow chart. Staff knowledge was assessed on one occasion, following the educational intervention, using an anonymous postal questionnaire.ResultsTwo hundred and fifteen medical and dental practices were approached and 114 practices participated (response rate 53%). A total of 1120 individual questionnaires were returned. Face to face training was the most effective intervention with four of five outcome measures showing better than expected knowledge. Seventy-seven percent of staff identified themselves as at risk of exposure to blood and body fluids. Twenty-one percent of staff believed they were not at risk of exposure to blood-borne viruses although potentially exposed and 16% of exposed staff had not been immunized against hepatitis B. Of the 856 ‘at risk’ staff, 48% had not received training regarding blood-borne viruses.ConclusionsWe found greater knowledge regarding management of exposures to blood and body fluids following face to face training than other educational interventions. There is a need for education of at risk primary health care workers.

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