Study Finds Healthcare Workers Frequently Contaminate Their Hands, Clothing in Removal of PPE


Contamination of the skin and clothing of healthcare workers happened frequently during the removal of gloves or gowns in a simulation study published by JAMA Internal Medicine that used fluorescent lotion and black light. The study by Curtis J. Donskey, MD, of the Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and coauthors included healthcare workers at four northeast Ohio hospitals who participated in personal protective equipment (PPE) removal simulations. Other healthcare personnel at one medical center participated in an intervention that included education and practice in removal of contaminated PPE.
The authors report that of 435 glove and gown removal simulations, contamination of skin or clothing with fluorescent lotion happened in 200 (46 percent). The intervention reduced skin and clothing contamination during glove and gown removal (60 percent before the intervention vs. 18.9 percent after) that was sustained after one and three months.
“These findings highlight the urgent need for additional studies to determine effective strategies to minimize the risk of contamination during PPE removal, to improve PPE design and to identify optimal methods for training of personnel in PPE use,” the authors write.

Reference: JAMA Intern Med. Published online Oct. 12, 2015. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.4535.
Editor’s Note: An author made a conflict of interest disclosure. This work was supported by a Veterans Affairs Merit Review grant from the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Cleveland Veterans Affairs Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center and a grant from STERIS.

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