Author(s): Mitchell A, Spencer M, Edmiston C Jr
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Abstract Healthcare workers (HCWs) wear uniforms, such as scrubs and lab coats, for several reasons: (1) to identify themselves as hospital personnel to their patients and employers; (2) to display professionalism; and (3) to provide barrier protection for street clothes from unexpected exposures during the work shift. A growing body of evidence suggests that HCWs' apparel is often contaminated with micro-organisms or pathogens that can cause infections or illnesses. While the majority of scrubs and lab coats are still made of the same traditional textiles used to make street clothes, new evidence suggests that current innovative textiles function as an engineering control, minimizing the acquisition, retention and transmission of infectious pathogens by reducing the levels of bioburden and microbial sustainability. This paper summarizes recent literature on the role of apparel worn in healthcare settings in the acquisition and transmission of healthcare-associated pathogens. It proposes solutions or technological interventions that can reduce the risk of transmission of micro-organisms that are associated with the healthcare environment. Healthcare apparel is the emerging frontier in epidemiologically important environmental surfaces. Copyright © 2015 The Healthcare Infection Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
This article was published in J Hosp Infect
and referenced in Occupational Medicine & Health Affairs