White coats are a beloved symbol of the medical profession, but have been found to harbor harmful pathogens (organisms that cause a disease) and may be a factor in hospital spread infections, suggests the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA). To minimize any potential risk for patients, SHEA has recently recommended that physicians such as Nephrologists hang up their white coats and take other proactive measures "to prevent the spread of infection via clothing."
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The white coat is one of the most visible and some say "important" symbols of a doctor’s identity. Dr. Richard Cohen told the New York Times: "When a patient shares intimacies with you and you examine them in a manner that no one else does, you'd better look like a physician; not a guy who works at Starbucks."
Although there are no studies directly linking health care workers’ apparel to hospital-acquired infections, according to SHEA, plenty studies have found that white coats, uniforms, and ties colonize harmful pathogens. Hence, it is very much possible that a contaminated tie or coat brushing against a patient’s wound (or fistula) dressing during an examination could cause an infection.
However, without strong evidence, SHEA issued a voluntary guideline for health care workers on ways to minimize the potential spread of pathogens from their clothing to patients. Hanging up white coats before seeing patients was a leading suggestion that may help prevent the spread of hospital-acquired infections via clothing. Others included: Daily laundering of white coats and all other clothes that may touch patients; cleaning of stethoscopes, badges, or other items that touch a patient before seeing the next patient; and wearing closed-toe, nonslip shoes.
These recommendations are not new. In 2008, the United Kingdom’s National Health Service banned health care workers from wearing white coats, long sleeves, watches, bracelets, or ties in clinical settings to prevent hospital-acquired infections.
If you feel that these protocols could assist in minimizing infections then you should discuss the matter with your Nephrologists. KidneyBuzz.com breaks news like this all of the time for Chronic Kidney Disease and Diabetic patients. Be sure to come back daily for important News & Information as well as like us on Facebook and Follow on Twitter so you do not miss anything
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Bridget M. Kuehn, MSJ. "Time to Hang Up the White Coat? Epidemiologists Suggest Ways to Prevent Clothing From Spreading Infection FREE." Http://jama.jamanetwork.com/. JAMA Network.
Sam Ladner. "The Importance of Symbols: Doctors and Their (dirty) Lab Coats." Http://copernicusconsulting.net/. Copernicus Consulting.