Should healthcare professionals always be ‘bare below the elbows’? Are long sleeves an infection risk?
“Although there is a limited evidence base around the ‘Bare below the elbows’ directive I feel it is a common sense approach for both patients and staff. For example although making the link between transmission of potentially pathogenic organisms from jewellery, long sleeves etc may be difficult, jewellery can be a potential health and safety risk to both patients and staff. Stoned rings or watches can tear personal protective clothing such as gloves and can also scratch a patient during a care procedure. Long sleeves can also become contaminated with bodily fluids. In addition both make effective hand decontamination difficult where there is an evidence base about associated risks.”
Julie Hughes is a nurse consultant in infection control at 5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Foundation Trust - a specialist provider of mental health and learning disabilities services. She is also a Lecturer at the University of Chester.
What do you think?