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Spreading Germs: A Healthcare Uniform Approach

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Just when we thought there were enough antibiotic-resistant bacteria out there, along comes the new kid on the block -- Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae or CRE. This drug-resistant germ is spreading throughout U.S. healthcare facilities, occurring in people receiving significant medical care. CRE is usually transmitted from person-to-person, often on the hands of health care employees*. While constant hand-washing is the obvious precaution that should be taken to avoid the spreading of germs such as CRE, healthcare facilities are now taking a hard look at their employee’s uniforms.

Many healthcare facilities today are starting to realize the correlation between employees wearing uniforms outside of work and the health and well-being of their patients, as well as employees and their family members. As a result, more and more facilities have implemented dress code policies stating that no employee can come to or leave work in scrubs, lab coats or any other work apparel in order to avoid further spreading germs.

Some healthcare professionals are fighting against such dress codes as they see it as a nuisance instead of a safety factor. However, with the dollar reimbursements to healthcare facilities due to Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey scores, more facilities are implementing such new dress code policies.

With the “birth” of an antibiotic-resistant bacteria like CRE that has a 40% to 50% mortality rate*, I think setting these reasonable limits is a step in the right direction!

Read the full article Spreading Germs: A Healthcare Uniform Approach by Scott Delin.

Does your healthcare facility enforce a dress code policy prohibiting arriving or leaving in your uniform?

* Centers for Disease Control and Prevention



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