Aim. This study aims to identify housekeepers’ use of protective measures, provide data about hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) seroprevalences and HBV immunisation, and investigate blunt–penetrating injuries in patient care services, routine cleaning services and orderly services.
Background. Hospitals have been described as hazardous work environments with an increase in HBV–HCV seroprevalences and blunt–penetrating object injuries. This situation creates great risks and hazards for housekeepers in their jobs.
Methods. The study population was housekeepers who work in university hospitals. A total of 824 housekeepers were surveyed by using a 20-item questionnaire. The questionnaire included the sociodemographic characteristics of housekeepers and the risk level of the unit employed. Blood samples were taken from the housekeepers.
Results. Their mean age was 32·5 years. The majority of the housekeepers (52·5%) were women and graduates of primary school (51·1%). The mean length of employment was 2·6 years, 73% were working on medical/surgical units, 91·2% were working in routine cleaning and 70·9% had been injured with various blunt and penetrating objects while working in the hospital in the past six months. The obtained result for seroprevalence for HBV–HCV was 2·2%. Only 27·5% of the housekeepers had been immunised with Hepatitis B vaccine. A large percentage of housekeepers in this study had used universal precautions.
Conclusion. This study showed high seroprevalence rates for HBV–HCV and blunt–penetrating object injuries in housekeepers. Therefore, more effort is necessary to increase the use of protective measures against HBV–HCV and blunt–penetrating object injuries in housekeepers.
Relevance to clinical practice. Hospitals need to take protective measures and implement innovative educational and support programmes organised for specific groups of housekeepers.