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Should you always change plastic aprons between patients?

  • Comments (13)

Should you always change plastic aprons between patients? What do you think?

EXPERT COMMENT

Several studies show that healthcare workers clothing can become contaminated with potentially pathogenic microorganisms e.g. Staphylococcus aureus.

Aprons are also included as part of healthcare workers personal protective equipment regulations. (Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations, 1992).

Therefore, plastic aprons are part of universally accepted evidence based standards, guidance and regulations for infection prevention and control. They recommend that single use disposable aprons, or gowns, must be worn based on risk assessment when there is a risk that healthcare workers clothing may become exposed to blood, body fluids, secretions and excretions.

Such guidance also recommends that aprons must be changed and removed carefully between care provided for each patient to prevent transmission of microorganisms and when cleaning different areas e.g. bedrooms, bays, toilets, kitchens and clinical areas.

Many policies also advice different colour coded aprons to help ensure that they have been changed between patients and procedures e.g. different colours for patient care, isolation, food service, bathroom and kitchen areas. Some studies have indicated that plastic may acquire static electric charge which can attract airborne bacteria. Although there are various opinions regarding this it also helps support the need to change aprons between patients.

Julie Hughes is a Nurse Consultant Infection Control/Lecturer, 5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Foundation Trust/University of Chester.

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  • Comments (13)

Readers' comments (13)

  • Yes of course!

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  • Anonymous

    Absolutely of course

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  • Yes, without a doubt!

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  • eileen shepherd

    I was on a ward recently where a nurse wore plastic aprons while doing the obs and went from one patient to another without changing it. I wonder if we over use aprons?

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  • Eileen, a Staff Nurse did that? Then she should have been pulled aside and told not to at least, probably even stuck on an I.C course.

    I have reprimanded HCAs in the past for it, but thankfully they were in the minority. Personally I have never known a Nurse to.

    And no, we don't overuse them. They are part of our PPE, and are there for a reason.

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  • Yes we should change our plastic aprons between patients! Infection control is there for a reason and aprons are part of our PPE.
    Working in an intensive care unit it is essential that aprons and gloves are changed between patients, as is good hand hygiene.

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  • Anonymous

    not much point in them if they are not changed after each patient.

    colour coding seems like a good idea worth trying out.

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  • Anonymous

    Of course aprons should be changed between patients, or else why wear them at all. If there is a cost argument then staff can 'work differently', to do more than one task for the same patient at a time. One of my pet hates, is seeing the BP (etc) machine being taken from one patient to another. There may be individual patient/disposable cuffs, but the tubing is DRAPED ACROSS THE FLOOR from one bed to another!! It happens so often with wires/tubing and the like.

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  • Anonymous

    not to mention oxygen masks and tubing that falls off onto the bed and onto the floor only to be picked up and put back onto the patient's nose and mouth!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Daniella Pires

    I feel that the colour coded aprons is a great idea. On a ward I have worked on, we used green for food, white for the bays and yellow for side wards. However, I do feel it unnecessary to change apron every time... For side wards yes. And green only for food. But white aprons on the bays can be quite silly.... It wastes so many aprons and most of the time there isn't that much patient contact!

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