Should you dress to impress? Or dress to reduce infection risk?
In a new article published in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology examined the impact attire makes on the risk of health care associated infections (HAI’s).
Of course, the most important part of eliminating HAI’s are proper hand washing, consistent and standard device insertion, and environmental disinfection.
However, several attire and dress code practices can reduce HAI risk while maintaining the professionalism and patient interaction of providers.
Here are some takeaways:
Bare Below the Elbows
Wearing short-sleeves and leaving jewelry, watches, and ties at home may reduce infection risk, finding the effectiveness of hand-hygiene was worse in providers who were not “bare below the elbows.”
Wash Those White Coats
After reading this study, we hope those wearing white coats and uniforms are washing them effectively. Studies of white coats find Staphylococcus aureaus infection rates between 5% and 29%.
Nurses’ uniforms between the start and end of shifts saw an increase of 39% to 54% in the contamination of vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureaus (MRSA) and Clostridium difficile.
When washing these items at home, they should be done by themselves, with hot water (with bleach), and ironed or put through the dryer.
While most providers laundered their scrubs every 1.7 days, white are only laundered every 12.4 days.
So please be sure to wash those.
Hopefully, no one needs to be reminded to wear sensible, closed toe, non-slip shoes.