Infection control experts agree that cleaner hospitals are safer hospitals. But while hand washing and disinfecting hard surfaces like countertops, floors, bed rails and instruments have helped reduce infection rates, soft surfaces are an overlooked opportunity for infection prevention.

A recent article, “Taking a closer look at Attire” in a November issue of AORN Connections, the publication from the Association of perioperative Registered Nurses, highlights the increased attention being paid to soft surface infection prevention in the healthcare facility.90 percent of the patient environment is made of soft surfaces, attire being just one example. Privacy curtains, bed linens and cubicle curtains have also been shows to contain harmful bacteria that have the potential to be transmitted to patients and increase risk for healthcare associated infections (HAIs).

Many institutions do not have formal policies for laundering. AORN’s current “Recommended Practices for Surgical Attire” advises facilities to not allow laundering at home, but to utilize an accredited health care laundering facility.However, laundering is simply not enough. In fact, the article also cites a study that found “within a week of being laundered, 92% of hospital privacy curtains are contaminated with potentially pathogenic bacteria.”  This recontamination is a major obstacle to breaking the chain of infection.

The AORN guidelines also address the characteristics of safe surgical attire—noting they “should be tightly woven, stain resistant and durable.” However, there are other characteristics that should be taken into consideration,such as the ability for bacteria to grow on fabric surfaces throughout healthcare settings.X-STATIC is the leader in antimicrobial fabric solutions. Silver’s antimicrobial properties have been well documented andX-STATIC® technology has been developed and researched for more than two decades. It has been used by the Military, NASA Astronauts and Olympic athletes.

In healthcare settings, X-STATIC technology is clinically-proven to reduce environmental contamination and the bacteria that may cause HAIs. It is permanent and does not require behavior modification or training. X-STATIC eliminates 99.9% of bacteria directly on the fabric, providing comprehensive, continuous and permanent antimicrobial protection.

Read more about AORN’s stance on attire here.