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(23) Home-Laundered Vs. Disposable OR Attire: What Does the Evidence Show?

Sherry Chavis, RN


Surgical facilities have traditionally allowed hospital laundered, disposable and home laundered cover jackets and hats. A team of both new and experienced OR nurses in collaboration with our EBP consultant and librarian assessed the literature, professional standards and community practice to determine if there was sufficient evidence to support a practice change requiring use of only disposable or hospital laundered apparel to lower bacterial contamination and infection rates. Our team was charged with evaluating the evidence to determine if a practice change was necessary to support this new practice. Review of twenty-six articles revealed strong evidence to support the use of hospital laundered or disposable jackets and scrub hats. A survey of twenty-one area hospitals revealed that the majority did not allow home laundered hats and jackets (57% and 71% respectively). Based on consistent and clear evidence our team recommended a practice change to eliminate use of home laundered attire and revised a current policy that will be submitted to our nursing divisionís Practice Council and Leadership Committee for approval. Education of both nursing and medical staff will include a presentation of the evidence to support this change and will be coordinated through our unit-based shared governance team. Coordinate education efforts with Practice Council and Center for Clinical Excellence will be implemented. Development of flyers highlighting key practice changes will be posted on nursing units This revised policy will augment infection prevention practices within our OR and assure best practices to minimize intraoperative infections and the transmission of bacterial contamination.

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