You wash your hands to prevent the spread of bacteria. When exposed to bodily fluids daily, how do doctors and nurses protect contamination within a hospital?
A recent study in JAMA conducted a study with medical workers at four hospitals in the Cleveland area. After dressed in protective gown and gloves, a fake bacteria was rubbed on their gloves and gowns. When they removed the protective gear as usual, it was found the “bacteria” got on their clothes and skin 38% of the time from the gown and 53% from the gloves – an average of 46% – nearly half of the time!
Mistakes made while removing the equipment include not pulling the gloves up over the wrist, putting on gloves before the gown, and pulling the gown over the head. Volunteers who made these mistakes ended up contaminated 70% of the time, while those who followed procedure still ended up contaminated 30% of the time. The Centers for Disease Control had the workers watch an instructional video, practice technique for 20 minutes, then conduct the trial again. The training cut the contamination rate from 60% to 19%.
Future methods to prevent the spread of bacteria could include disinfecting worker gowns and gloves with bleach or UV light before removing. The best solution would be to redesign this protective gear so it is easier to remove than the “one-size-fits-all” used now.
Kaplan, Karen. “Study reveals why gowns and gloves can be so dangerous for hospital workers.” Health. The Baltimore Sun, 12 Oct 2015. Web. 18 Oct 2015.