Patient safety is supposed to be a hospital's number one priority in Pennsylvania, and many hospitals continue to change their policies to make sure patients are safe during their stay. Hospitals should be aware of new recommendations by the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America to revise current dress codes to prevent the spread of infections.
The group said that physicians and other health care workers should avoid wearing long sleeve shirts, watches, jewelry, neck ties and white coats to reduce the risk of spreading infections among patients. They also recommended that doctors wash their white coats with hot water and bleach at least once a week to reduce spreading infections like MRSA and C. diff, which can be very harmful for patients.
While there is not a proven direct link between clothing and germs, they made the recommendation as a precaution and a way for hospitals to reduce hospital-acquired infections. Previous studies have found that sleeves, pockets and parts of a doctor's coat or scrubs can have germs on them that can lead to an infection. In addition to this finding just being gross, a previous study found that some of the germs found on doctors' clothing were resistant to drugs, meaning that they could cause an infection that is difficult to treat in patients.
Hospital-acquired infections are very serious and can cause long-term complications and death in patients. That is why it is important for hospitals to take precautions and create protocols to prevent the spread of infections among patients.
Hospitals that don't follow proper safety procedures to reduce risks to patients can be held liable for negligence in some cases. Patients should be aware of the new recommendations for hospital dress codes to see if the hospital they are staying in is taking steps to prevent infections or if they may be only spreading more germs.
Source: Fierce Healthcare, "New dress code recommendation look to reduce spread of MRSA, C. diff," Katie Sullivan, Jan. 21, 2014