Workplace screening for hand dermatitis in the health care setting

Download printable PDF

Title Workplace screening for hand dermatitis in the health care setting
Year 2002
CREOD Investigators Sharon Shin, Linn Holness.
CREOD Research Program Occupational Skin Disease
Research Theme Health Services – early recognition
Funder Unfunded
Product Type Student Research Project
Background Health care workers are at high risk for occupational dermatitis. In addition to its economic burden, disabling nature, and predisposition to future skin problems, hand dermatitis in health care workers has implications in hospital policy and practices (e.g. staff with hand eczema have been documented to wash their hands less frequently). Though screening is suggested as a prevention strategy, there is little information in the literature regarding its use in the workplace.
Study Focus (Research Question/Goals/
Methods)
Our goal was to determine the feasibility of screening in the health care sector to identify workers with hand dermatitis. 139 hospital personnel visiting an Employee Health Unit over a six week period in February and March 2002 were surveyed using a self-administered questionnaire. Hand examination was also conducted.
Key Findings Screening using a brief questionnaire and hand examination was feasible in this setting. The prevalence of changes was similar to that reported in population-based studies.

Prevalence:

  • Hand dermatitis was present in 30.5% of respondents.
  • 19% had complaints of hand dermatitis in the past 12 months, 18% had physical findings, and 6% had both.
  • Those involved in wet work reported increased glove and hospital-dispensed cleanser use, and were 4.8 times more likely to report hand eczema in the past year than those involved in dry work.
  • Only 34.6% of respondents received skin protection training.
Implications for Health/Labour Policy and Practice Screening for hand dermatitis in the health care sector may help improve outcomes for workers and (through infection control) their patients.
Publication Information Publications

  • Holness DL Shin S. Screening for hand dermatitis in health care workers. Dermatitis 2011;22:298.

Presentations

  • Shin S, Holness DL. Screening for hand dermatitis in health care workers. American Contact Dermatitis Society Annual Meeting, San Francisco, March 2003.
  • Holness DL, Shin S. Screening for hand dermatitis in health care workers. OEESC 2011, Toronto, June 2011.