Self-reported occupational blood exposure among paramedics in Poland: a pilot study

Introduction. Paramedics are at risk of occupational blood exposure, increased by the immediacy of provided treatment. However, the issue has not been acknowledged to date by any research in Europe. Methods. This research aimed at assessing occupational blood exposure among paramedics in Poland. Respondents represented 21 Polish medical institutions. Their participation was voluntary and anonymous. Paramedics were provided with a self-directed job-specific questionnaire adapted to Polish conditions from an original US version. Results. 118 paramedics participated in the study from institutions constituting the National Emergency Medical System in Poland; including ambulance crews, Helicopter Emergency Medical Services and emergency department employees. Occupational exposure was reported by 18.64% of respondents and the main route of exposure was needlestick events. Conclusions. There is a further need to improve education among paramedics concerning the threat of being infected with blood-borne pathogens through all existing routes. Our findings point to the problem as being hidden and considered a shameful issue.

Source: Naylor, K., Torres, A., Galazkowski, R. et Torres, K. (2018). International Journal of Occupational Safety and Ergonomics.

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