Dirty Scrubs and Other Disease-Spreading Attire
1. Bare below the elbows, or BBE
This means short sleeves, no wristwatches, no jewelry and no ties during clinical practice. One important reason for this policy is to encourage providers to wash their hands to the wrists between patient encounters.
"What we try to do is decrease the bioburden at the point of care in the inpatient setting," Bearman says. "So by not wearing a long sleeve, not having a cuff, not having a wristwatch on or wrist jewelry, it's much easier to do hand hygiene that's effective to at least the level of the wrist or midforearm."
2. White Coats
Each provider should have two or more, and should have a convenient and economical way to launder these coats. Asked if hospitals should be encouraged to launder those coats to avoid home laundering at potentially insufficiently high temperatures, Bearman says "there's no real data to suggest where it should be laundered. In theory, if you have an industrial laundry in the hospital that uses high temperature washes and puts things in a drier at high temperature, that should probably eradicate all bacteria and spores, and in theory that would be superior, and a boon, but there nothing to support that in the literature.
A hospital laundry service would eliminate the possibility that providers would wear scrubs or other attire in their communities, where they could be potentially infected, only to return to the hospital with those same pathogens. Clinicians could simply put on their clinical garb after they arrive at the hospital, and take it off before they leave. That too makes sense, Bearman says, but there's no evidence to date that it prevents hospital-acquired infections.
Clothing that comes into contact with the patient or a patient's environment should be laundered after daily use, the guideline suggests. But white coats should be laundered "no less frequently than once a week and when visibly soiled."
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