Friday, January 15, 2010

Does "bare below the elbows" make sense for health care workers? What does it really mean?

Will the AMA or other US medical associations recommend following the UK’s “bare below the elbows” policy for all doctors and health care workers, as adopted in 2007? There’s some debate on whether it works in various links such as this one.

The policy means wearing no neckties and no hand jewelry that could interfere with hand and wrist washing, at least as far as stated. But whether decorative items of clothing usually associated with professional dress codes really carry more pathogens seems controversial.

Islamic health care workers in Britain have objected, especially because in some cases religious rules require females to keep their arms covered when not around immediate family. There is some debate about it here.

Do these recommendations affect hygiene in the home, where perhaps a family member is immunosuppressed because of HIV or chemotherapy?

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