Domestic laundering of nurses' uniforms: what are the risks?

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Authors Katie Laird is a senior lecturer in microbiology at the School of Pharmacy; Kate Riley was a PhD student; John Williams is principal lecturer in technical textiles, both at the Textile Engineering and Materials Research Group, School of Design; all members of the Infectious Disease Research Group, De Montfort University, Leicester. With rises in healthcare-acquired infections (HCAIs) and antibiotic resistance, understanding transmission routes of bacteria is paramount. One possible route is nurses’ uniforms, which they wash at home. A study found that trusts’ policies on home laundering were inconsistent and that staff did not always follow guidance. Another study showed that, when contaminated and sterile fabric samples were washed at 40°C, a small number of Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus bacteria survived and cross-contamination occurred. This article details the two studies, describes the regulatory environment and discusses how to ensure adequate decontamination of uniforms.Citation Laird K et al (2018) Domestic laundering of nurses’ uniforms: what are the risks?

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