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Hospitals consider role of clothes in infection control

By Anne Zieger

It's already well-established that regular hand-washing can cut down on hospital-acquired infections in patients. On the other hand, it's not clear what role the clothes worn by hospital staffers play in the spread of infections. However, that hasn't stopped hospitals from taking a look at this issue. Meanwhile, the issue of how clothing may impact hospital infections was given a publicity boost this year when the British National Health Service demanded that doctors go "bare below the elbows" rule banning ties and long sleeves.

To date, there's been little research documenting that clothes, ties or watches worn by doctors and others transmit disease. Still, there is some research documenting that healthcare workers' clothing is significantly more germy than that of non-healthcare workers. For example, one study at a Connecticut hospital concluded that if a worker entered a room where a patient had MRSA, the germ would end up on the worker's clothes about 70 percent of the time, even if the worker never touched the infected patient.

To compromise, hospitals are starting with less-restrictive rules, such as barring workers from wearing scrubs to and from work. But it seems unlikely that U.S. hospitals will adopt the practices common in, for example, Denmark, where hospitals give all healthcare workers sanitized clothes and shoes for use during their shift.


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Becoming a More Empowered Patient

First, we have chosen to share a video by Consumer Health Choices: Talking With Your Doctor. In it you will see how preparing for you appointment can make a difference.

We have chosen a second video by the National Patient Safety Foundation: AskMe3, to share with you. Here, you learn that there are three important questions to ask your doctor whenever you see him or her.

Finally, we are sharing a series of videos by Dartmouth-Hitchcock:
Self-Advocacy: The Empowered Patient,
Self-Advocacy: Preparing for your Visit,
Self-Advocacy: Why It's Important To Share and
Self-Advocacy: Doing Research.

For the complete story, please click here

5 Things to Know

  1. What you need to know in the Hospital
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  3. Selecting Doctors & Hospitals
  4. What to do to avoid medication error
  5. AHRQ Director Helps Consumers Navigate the Health Care System in a New Advice Column on the Web

You've Suffered Medical Harm - Now What Do You Do?

According to a recent article published by ProPublica titled: So You’ve Become a Patient Safety Statistic – Now What? by Marshall Allen there are six things to do….

  1. Get a copy of medical records.
  2. Make sure the incident is reported internally.
  3. If the patient has died, order a forensic autopsy.
  4. Consider calling an attorney.
  5. Meet with the doctor and hospital officials.
  6. Report the incident to regulators, who can investigate.

For greater detail and more important information, please read the full article.