Methods: The aim of this study was to survey attitudes and current practices of students regarding hand washing, hand sanitizing, and treatment table disinfecting measures in 1 chiropractic teaching institution. A 9-question anonymous survey and a focus group were utilized in the study. Responses to survey questions were analyzed using SPSS version 12. Qualitative analysis of focus group results to determine barriers and possible education tools toward facilitation of student compliance in these areas was performed.
Results: Students generally report that they favor regular hand washing and hand sanitizing, along with recognizing the need to disinfect tables. Mechanisms were not in place, however, to adequately provide for hand sanitizing and table disinfection on a routine basis. Sixty-nine percent said they frequently or always washed their hands between contacts. A minority (28%) carried personal hand sanitizers. Females were significantly more likely to do so (p=.0001). Most (95%) changed face paper on treatment tables, but disinfection of table surfaces was practically non-existent. Focus group evaluation provided additional information to enhance compliance and education in this area.
Conclusion: Chiropractic colleges and accrediting boards should develop standards for hand washing, hand sanitizing, and table disinfecting as soon as possible. Additional research should investigate long-term solutions for risk reduction, including attitudinal barriers to behavior changes needed to limit potential spread of infectious disease in chiropractic clinical and academic settings. Messages should be framed reflecting positive aspects of desired behavior changes.
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