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Disaster Med Public Health Prep. 2019 Nov 4:1-6. doi: 10.1017/dmp.2019.108. [Epub ahead of print]

Emergency Medical Services Providers' Experiences and Attitudes Toward Infection Prevention and Control Measures in Saudi Arabia: a Qualitative Study.

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King Saud University, Emergency Medicine, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Global Center for Mass Gathering Medicine, Ministry of Health, Saudi Arabia.



This study explores the experiences and practices of emergency medical services (EMS) providers, as well as the motivations that underpin perceptions toward standard infection prevention and control (IPC). The current literature suggests that EMS providers have a low compliance level with preventive measures, with misperceptions about risks and self-justification of personal skills reported.


The study used qualitative methods and conducted 2 distinct focus group discussions and 20 in-depth interviews with both prehospital and inter-facility EMS providers. Data were thematically analyzed using the Framework approach.


The participants considered respiratory infections the most significant nosocomial risks. Lack of full disclosure of medical history to EMS providers was considered a significant threat. Beliefs about low effectiveness and harmful effects of the influenza vaccine, as well as low perceptions of influenza risks, were common. While apparent misperceptions contributed largely to the inappropriate use of preventive measures, the reliance on intuition and individual experiences was attributed to the inaccessibility of appropriate guidelines, and lack of formal IPC training programs.


There is need to address EMS doubts and fears, improve IPC practices and awareness by institutionalizing IPC training programs, and ensure the design and accessibility of simplified and well-tailored IPC guidelines for EMS providers.


emergency medical services; emergency medicine; infection control; nosocomial


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