Hospital Guidelines for Laundering TheatreCaps
One question we’re often asked is if we have details on how hospitals manage laundering of reusable theatre caps.
This is a topic we’ve been collaborating on with many institutions for some time.
Mrs Scarlett McNally from the Royal College of Surgeons provides very comprehensive guidance for hospitals and healthcare trusts here (click on this link).
- A new hat should be worn daily, or changed more often if contaminated
- Staff members should look to have at least 3 reusable caps each to allow for laundering cycles
- Dirty Theatre Caps should be transported separately from clean Theatre Caps
- Theatre Caps should be washed at 60 Centigrade or at 40 Centigrade and tumble-dried or dried on a washing line in sunlight and ironed.
Similar guidelines have been developed by Northampton General NHS Trust (click on this link).
If you are aware of other guidelines please do let us know and we’ll add to this post.
Further all available evidence to date, of which there’s a great deal, indicates no difference in surgical site infection rates between reusable and disposable Theatre Caps - we have listed this below.
Interestingly disposable Bouffant caps may represent a greater infection risk because of the pore size in the material.
'There is no association between the type of surgical hat worn and the incidence of postoperative wound events.'
'Mandatory Change From Surgical Skull Caps to Bouffant Caps Among Operating Room Personnel Does Not Reduce Surgical Site Infections in Class I Surgical Cases.'
'When compared to cloth skull caps, disposable bouffants had greater permeability, greater particulate contamination, and greater passive microbial shed.'
'Attending surgeon preference for bouffant vs skull cap does not significantly impact SSI rates after accounting for surgical procedure type.'
Implementation of the (previous) AORN guidelines has not decreased SSIs and has increased healthcare costs.