Uniform Policy Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals

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1 This is an official Northern Trust policy and should not be edited in any way Uniform Policy Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals Reference Number: NHSCT/12/635 Target audience: This policy is directed to all Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professional (AHP) staff employed by the Northern Health and Social Care Trust (NHSCT) in the acute hospital and community inpatient settings and includes students and others on placement in NHSCT. Sources of advice in relation to this document: Olive MacLeod, Director of Nursing & User Experience Carolyn Kerr, Deputy Director of Nursing Replaces (if appropriate): NHSCT Uniform Policy (Hospital) Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals NHSCT/11/388 NHSCT Uniform Policy Interim Community Nursing, Midwifery & Allied Health Professionals NHSCT/10/354 Type of Document: Trust Wide Approved by: Policy, Standards and Guidelines Committee Date Approved: 2 November 2012 Date Issued by Policy Unit: 13 December 2012 (Reissued 8/1/13) NHSCT Mission Statement To provide for all, the quality of service we expect for our families, and ourselves.

2 Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals Uniform Policy November 2012

3 Northern Health and Social Care Trust Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals Uniform Policy 1. Introduction 1.1 This Uniform Policy has been adapted from the Regional Policy produced by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) to support Changing Culture: An Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Healthcare Associated Infections in Northern Ireland (2006 / 2009). 1.2 This policy considers uniform only and does not extend to personal protective equipment (PPE). It takes account of the clinical and microbiological aspects. It also includes the social significance and public perceptions in relation to Health and Social Care (HSC) dress code and uniforms. 1.3 Policy Aim To provide a uniform policy for all nurses, midwives and allied health professional staff employed in the acute hospital and community inpatient settings by the NHSCT. 1.4 Policy objectives To reinforce the NHSCT commitment to the reduction of Healthcare Associated Infections. To promote a professional image of the service and the individual NHSCT employee. To promote public confidence in NHSCT hospital staff. To ensure that health and safety, security and legal issues are incorporated into the NHSCT uniform policy. 1.5 Target Audience This policy is directed to all Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professional (AHP) staff employed by the Northern Health and Social Care Trust (NHSCT) in the acute hospital and community inpatient settings and includes students and others on placement in NHSCT. Whilst this policy recognises the diversity of cultures, religions and disabilities of NHSCT staff, priority must be given to those issues which promote health and safety, security and infection prevention and control. Non adherence to this policy will be considered as misconduct and managed in line with the Trust Disciplinary Procedure. 1

4 Policy Statement 2. Control of Infection and Health and Safety 2.1 Staff who are required to wear uniform will be provided with an adequate number of uniforms by the NHSCT. 2.2 Staff should change out of uniform at the end of each shift before leaving their work base. 2.3 Staff who are permitted to wear a clinical uniform to and from work (due to lack of changing facilities) should have it covered completely when travelling. 2.4 Staff must change (as soon as is practical) if uniform becomes visibly soiled or contaminated with blood or body fluids. 2.5 The Trust does not currently have facilities for uniform laundering for all nurses, midwives and allied health professionals. In acute facilities where changing facilities and autovalet service exists, this must be used by nurses, midwives and AHPs. 2.6 A clean uniform must be worn for each shift. 2.7 Written instructions, reflecting current best practice, must be provided for staff who launder their own uniforms (Appendix 1 Interim Advice for Home Laundering Uniforms for HSC Staff). Uniforms must be washed separately from other clothing at 65 o C and ironed prior to wearing. 2.8 Uniforms must not be worn on any commercial premises, such as supermarkets. 2.9 Jewellery from visible body piercings must be removed, apart from metal smooth stud earrings that do not extend over the edge of the ear lobe. One plain finger band ring can be worn Wrist watches must not be worn in the clinical setting (arms bare below the elbow ) Footwear must be a dark colour, low heeled and with rubber soles. The surface of the shoe must be able to be wiped. Sandals, open-toed shoes and croc s must not be worn If alternative footwear is required this must be supported by the Trust Occupational Health Department Clogs can only be worn if designated as essential work wear and must not be worn outside the department Staff must not mix uniform with non uniform items of clothing. 2

5 2.15 Hair must be worn in a tidy style and if long, must be tied back and off uniform collar. Fastenings must be discrete Fingernails must be clean, short and without nail varnish. Nail extensions and false nails must not be worn If make-up and perfume are worn, they must be discrete Tights must be skin tone or sheer black opaque black tights must not be worn. 3. Security 3.1 When staff leave the Trust or no longer require the uniform supplied, all items must be returned to the line manager (refer to Protocol for Receipt and Safe Return of Uniform). 3.2 On occasions members of the public have impersonated health and social care staff and put the public at risk. If uniforms have been stolen or disappear from lockers, the member of staff is responsible for reporting this to their line manager who will assess the incident, complete an incident form and decide whether the PSNI need to be informed. 4. Agency staff Agency staff are supplied with clinical work wear by their employing agency. Agency staff should be made aware of this policy and will be required to adhere to the infection control and health and safety paragraphs. 5. Equality, Human Rights and DDA There will be circumstances where the wearing of all or part of, the uniform may cause difficulties to individual members of staff on the grounds of disability, religious beliefs or other personal reasons. This should be discussed with the member of staff s line manager. The Trust will endeavour to accommodate individual requirements without compromising either health and safety or control of infection issues. This policy has been drawn up and reviewed in the light of Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act (1998) which requires the Trust to have due regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity. It has been screened to identify any adverse impact on the 9 equality categories and no significant differential impacts were identified, therefore, an Equality Impact Assessment is not required. 3

6 6. Alternative Formats This document can be made available on request on disc, larger font, Braille, audio-cassette and in other minority languages to meet the needs of those who are not fluent in English. 7. Sources of advice in relation to this document The Policy Author, responsible Assistant Director or Director as detailed on the policy title page should be contacted with regard to any queries on the content of this policy. References DHSSPSNI (2006) Changing Culture: An Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Healthcare Associated Infections in Northern Ireland (2006 / 2009). DHSSPSNI (2008) Regional Dress Code Policy and Recommendations on Staff Changing Facilities for Northern Ireland Royal College of Nursing (2005) Guidance of Uniforms and Clothing Work in the Delivery of Patient Care NHSCT 2008 Interim Advice for Home Laundering Uniforms for HSC Staff (Infection Prevention and Control Department,). 4

7 Appendix 1 INTERIM ADVICE FOR HOME LAUNDERING UNIFORMS FOR HSC STAFF There is no conclusive evidence that uniforms or other work clothes pose a significant hazard in terms of spreading infection. In relation to laundry there is no evidence of a difference in efficacy of decontamination between commercial and domestic laundry processes. It is unlikely in normal clinical practice, that uniforms will become grossly contaminated. Standard Infection Control Precautions, which are used in the care of all patients, indicate that it is best practice to wear PPE such as plastic aprons to protect the uniform when it is anticipated that there will be exposure to potentially infectious agents. However, should gross contamination occur, the uniform should be changed immediately and laundered by the Trust Laundry service. Grossly contaminated uniforms must not be laundered at home. All the components of a properly designed and operated laundry process contribute to the removal or killing of micro organisms on fabric, particularly mechanical agitation, with dilution and flushing and exposure to detergent. When there is an outbreak of Clostridium difficile, theatre scrubs should be worn by all staff caring for infected patients. These must be laundered in the Trust s laundry service. In the absence of any national recommendations for the home laundering of uniforms the following best practice advice is recommended to staff: - Transport the soiled uniform in a closed plastic bag, which should be discarded after use. Soiled uniforms should be stored in the closed plastic bag until ready to wash and then transferred directly into a washing machine. Wash uniform separately from other clothing at o C or at the hottest temperature shown on the manufacturer s label, using an appropriate detergent or washing powder. This should be followed by the normal domestic procedures such as drying and ironing. Clean uniforms should be stored separately in a clean plastic bag until ready for use. In addition to this advice, any local recommendations of the Trust s Infection Control Team should be observed. Ref: Meeting chaired by Mrs E Qua on 19/02/08. Subject: Dress Policy / Guidance for laundering staff uniforms at home. 5

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