Sunday, April 6, 2014

Doctor White Coats, infections

February issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, suggests that to minimize infection risk, hospitals might want to adopt a “bare below the elbows” policy that includes short sleeves and no wristwatch, jewelry or neckties during contact with patients.
Goodbye to the Doctor's White Coat? - ".... The authors also recommend that if the use of white coats is not entirely abandoned, each doctor should have at least two, worn alternately and laundered frequently. And even if they wear the coat at other times, they should be encouraged to remove it before approaching patients. The authors emphasize that the recommendations are based more on the biological plausibility of transmitting infection through clothing than on strong scientific evidence, which is limited. The lead author, Dr. Gonzalo Bearman, a professor of medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University, said that hand washing, bathing patients with antibacterial soap, and checklists for inserting intravenous lines are all proven to reduce infection. “Apparel should come next in level of concern,” he said. “The more patients are aware that apparel may impact hospital infections, the more doctors will consider how clean they are.”"

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