Dirty Scrubs and Other Disease-Spreading Attire

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media , January 30, 2014

5. Footwear
No open-toed shoes. (This means you Dr. Flip Flop.) "All footwear should have closed toes, low heels, and non-skid soles," say the SHEA guidelines.

6. Wearable Equipment and IDs
Shared equipment, including stethoscopes, should be cleaned between patients, the guidelines say.

One might think that the infection preventionist would have concerns about lanyards carrying hospital identification, tags, cell phones, pagers and jewelry, but the committee said "no guidance can be offered regarding prohibiting" such items. It did say that "those items that come into direct contact with the patient or environment should be disinfected, replaced or eliminated.

7. Rings
The committee report doesn't specifically mention whether men and women should stop wearing rings, including wedding bands, because "we didn't find enough data to step out on that particular limb," Bearman says. But he noted that the United Kingdom prohibits providers there from wearing rings during direct patient care.

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3 comments on "Dirty Scrubs and Other Disease-Spreading Attire"

Alun Jones (2/3/2014 at 9:09 AM)
80% of contamination entering critical environments is done so via feet or wheels. How many hospitals are addressing this by using floor level contamination control solutions such as polymeric flooring?

Bob Hawkins (2/1/2014 at 4:38 PM)
Cheryl, great stuff. Hospitals need to thing of the less obvious places that spread germs, disease and infections. My mother was in an anti contamination room at a Fr. Myers hospital where they took great pains to keep germs away. She went in for a hip fracture and was hampered by infections. I watched every day as a cleaning woman moved the same mop and bucket and dirty water from room to room, swabbing the floors. Only latèr after my mother died there did it occur to me that they might be spreading a germ soup from room to room.. What do you think?

Michael Cylkowski (1/30/2014 at 6:29 PM)
Thanks Cheryl for addressing this issue. It's just as important to not bring those microbes into the community when they wear their scrubs everywhere. Most ORs insist that the clinician change before re-entering the OR, even if they've only been gone a short while. But nobody stops them from walking the streets in their scrubs. I actually saw a cardiologist I know go into a Brookstone Store and lay down on the mattress to try it out - in his dirty scrubs and surgical booties. The store manager called him on it and asked him to leave the store. Several people gave the manager a standing O.




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