Health care/social assistance Personal protective equipment

Many health care workers don’t remove PPE correctly: study

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Madison, WI – Health care workers may not be adhering to recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when removing personal protective equipment after treating patients in isolation rooms, according to a study from the University of Wisconsin.

The CDC states that health care workers should first take off their gloves before gently removing their gown from the back while in the patient’s room.

As part of the study, a trained observer watched 30 workers as they entered and left patient rooms in a hospital. Seventeen workers removed their gown before removing gloves, and 16 wore their PPE out of the room in the hallway. Additionally, 15 workers removed their gown roughly, which could result in pathogens moving from the gown to clothing, a press release states.

About half of workers in the study correctly removed their PPE, but few (17 percent) did so in the correct order and disposed of it in the correct place.

Isolation precautions intend to help prevent germs spreading and might require use of gloves, gowns and masks, according to the release. Removing PPE is important to reduce contamination, but “current removal practices are not well described,” the study states.

The study was published in the July issue of the American Journal of Infection Control.