SHEA Releases New Guidance for Healthcare Personnel Attire

The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) recently issued new guidance on attire worn by personnel in healthcare facilities. SHEA’s recommendations concluded “attire should attempt to balance professional appearance, comfort, and practicality with the potential role of apparel in the cross-transmission of pathogens.”The organization called for more clinical studies to determine the relationship between attire and healthcare associated infections (HAIs), however noted several studies that demonstrate various types of attire can be contaminated. Find the full guidance “Healthcare Personnel Attire in Non-Operating-Room Settings”published in the Journal of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology here: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/675066 This guidance is an important step in updating regulations concerning soft surface fabrics, but more work is needed.SHEA discusses daily laundering and a “bare-below-the-elbows” approach for attire. However,additional studies have shown heavy contamination of pockets as well. Other soft surface fabrics such as privacy curtains and bed linens have also proven to be fomites and healthcare staff should be educated on the risks associated with touching these surfaces before touching a patient.Laundering daily is certainly essential, but fabrics are rapidly contaminated after being put back in use, so this is also not the only line of defense. It is clear soft surface fabrics need to have a place in a comprehensive infection prevention program to effectively break the chain of transmission. We can all agree that cleaner hospitals and safer hospitals. X-STATIC® is committed to providing research support and generating the evidence-based practice needed to stir facilities to action. Products powered by X-STATIC®are proven to permanently and continuously reduce bacteria on the surface of fabrics. This coupled with proper hand hygiene and hard surface...

Promise Hospital in San Diego Addresses Contamination of Soft Surface Fabrics

Did you catch the recent article in Infection Control Today profiling one facility’s work on soft surface fabrics? Infection Preventionist Victor Lange at Promise Hospital in San Diego, California describes the importance of the patient environment in the transmission of infection, but recognized that soft surface fabrics are often overlooked in determining the source of those infections. Because of this, the facility decided to look at one type of fabric that comes in direct and almost constant contact with the patient – their pillows. Lange and his team conducted a study that showed recently disinfected hospital pillows may not be very clean after all. The researchers swabbed 100 “patient-ready” reusable vinyl-covered pillows over a five-week span. The subsequent analysis showed 38 percent were contaminated with pathogens including MRSA, VRE, E. faecalis, E. coli, P. stuartii, and Yeast, among others. The hospital is taking steps to address the issue including reviewing products with an embedded antimicrobial. It’s essential that we collectively recognize the important role fabrics play in contributing to overall bioburden in the patient environment. Effectively breaking the chain of infection requires a complete infection prevention program addressing all potential bacteria reservoirs. Have you recently looked at contamination of pillows or bedding in your facility? Are you concerned about contamination of other types of fabrics? Let us know in the comment...