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Hospital Workers Spreading Germs Through Their PPE

Proper PPE removal is as important as properly wearing it

October 29, 2019

Personal protective equipment (PPE) can protect environmental services (EVS) staff in hospitals from picking up and spreading pathogens that lead to serious infections such as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and C. difficile. However, it is crucial for workers to remove the PPE correctly or they will be contaminated with the germs on it, Infection Control Today reports.

Researchers interviewing hospital employees, from EVS workers to physicians, found many removed their shoes outside their homes to keep harmful pathogens from entering their homes. However, the workers weren’t as cautious in removing protective gowns and gloves. Researchers observing hospital workers removing PPE in seven different departments at two hospitals found nearly half of the people potentially self-contaminated themselves and 42% failed to follow hospital-issued instructions for rolling up the gowns, according to a study published in the American Journal of Infection Control. Only 23% properly removed PPE to avoid self-contamination.

Some of the improper actions researchers observed included tying gown straps in the front of the gown rather than the back, not tying the gown at all, rolling the gown with their bare hands, and removing their PPE while holding an electronic tablet.

Learn the protocols of the proper PPE to wear and cleaning steps to follow when cleaning patient rooms to avoid transferring pathogens to patients or yourself.

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