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 disinfection will reduce the bacteria load in the direct patient environment.

For a review of clinical research on soft surface fabrics, download these comprehensive whitepapers. http://www.infectionpreventiontextiles.com/download-whitepaper.php