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Reducing HCAIs
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TOPIC: Washing healthcare workers uniforms at home

Washing healthcare workers uniforms at home 1 year, 2 months ago #1

Very confusing topic this one. Hospital linen requires thermal disinfection (HSG95(18)) and the lowest quoted temperature, presumeably based upon validated research is 10 minutes at 65 degree's Celcius. Very few domestic washing machines operate at this level, the nearest being 60 or 90. No one uses the 90 degree programme as it takes an eternity and costs an arm and a leg in electricity. Therefore they choose 60. Most domestic washing machines that I have experience with deactivate the heater upon reaching 60 (give or take 5 degree's, usually the lower of the two) and then carry on washing, with an ever reducing temperature. This means that the majority of the wash is carried out at a temperature well below 60 (often below 50). Has anyone carried out any research to show the effectiveness at killing bacteria at these temperatures or am I looking for a white unicorn?

Washing healthcare workers uniforms at home 1 year, 2 months ago #2

Hi Ian, we have a RCN uniform guidance details on our resource section under Infection Control

Washing healthcare workers uniforms at home 1 year, 2 months ago #3

Textile hygiene experts are urging the NHS to stop discounting the risk that infections can be spread by the almost universal practice of
nurses' taking their uniforms home to wash.The UK's National Health Service is almost alone in the EU in tolerating the unquantified infection risk posed to patients and the public by home washed uniforms worn by nurses in, and travelling to and from, the work place. The food industry, by contrast, has long accepted the potentially deadly consequences of such a hygiene loophole.UK hospital-acquired infections have fallen sharply in recent years
after peaking at the start of the last decade. Nevertheless, the problem remains far from solved. In 2009-10 there were 1,898 cases of MRSA infection - something almost always picked up in hospital - according to the UK Health Protection Agency, the government
body responsible for disseminating health information.

In the same period, there were 25,604 cases of Clostridium Difficile, another bug most commonly contracted in hospital.
"There are, of course, multiple factors involved, but we strongly urge the Department of Health to reconsider its position and stop ignoring
the risk posed by home-washed uniforms. NHS Trusts (and in time Commissioning Consortia), patients and their staff must face the potentially tragic ‘consequences of essentially playing a game of Russian Roulette with infection control," says Murray Simpson, chief
executive of the Textile Services Association (TSA www.tsauk.org/), representing professional UK laundries, which can properly
clean garments in a way nurses cannot. “In an era when the smart use of private sector partners by the NHS is at the forefront of budget conscious health administrators, now is probably the best time to grasp the nettle and change this potentially worrying and inordinately costly false economy,” Simpson says.

Our white paper can be accessed in the resources section.
Last Edit: 1 year, 2 months ago by Scott Buckler.

Washing healthcare workers uniforms at home 1 year, 2 months ago #4

Read this article sometime ago. I have not heard or read of any research with regards to testing uniforms following a home wash.

However the argument I have heard, which I agreed with, is that with uniforms wash at temp 60 or 50 at home and then with a hot iron will or should be reasonably effective at killing most organisms. Moreover all staff (doctors, physio and nurses) working in acute area (that my area) are instructed to don on aprons if they are undertaking care/examining patients. This will again lower the risk of the uniform or personal clothing picking up organisms from patients. Furthermore in all outbreak situations, nurses, doctors and those works in an outbreak areas, have to change into scrubs. This will low the risk again.

This is my rationale for staff washing they uniforms at home. The problem is the cost implication to staff which I not sure has been taken into consideration in their tax rebate or tax code adjustment.

Washing healthcare workers uniforms at home 1 year, 1 month ago #5

Livingston Hospital in South Africa have Doctiors who wear long white coats on top of their uniforms, when they leave the ward to go outside or to other wards.On return they take off the coats.

Staff came in their clothes and change into their uniform at the hospital. Uniforms were washed at the hospital. Staff showered before going home. This practice stopped long back in 1974/1975.

Most nurses I spoke to informed me that they change into their house clothes as soon as they get home before doing anything. The uniform is put in the wash straight aware. My experience working in the US was -I brought everything home and people around me were always sick with whatever was happening on the ward. I was the only fit person in the house. I informed my line manager who informed the medical team. I was investigated and was found to be immune to the infections at that time. I had to shower and change my clothes before going home.
Last Edit: 1 year, 1 month ago by Scott Buckler.
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