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Decontamination

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by jjohnsonga jjohnsonga (New) New

Hey everyone. This is my first post so please excuse it if I seem ignorant. I was just accepted into a LPN program at Pasco-Hernando State College to start my nursing journey. One of my major questions to see from everyone is what you do when you get home from hospitals or clinicals. I have two young children and want to see how others handle it to reduce the risk of communicable diseases that I may encounter throughout the day? Thank you all so much for your time and responses!

Joey

Altra, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency & Trauma/Adult ICU.

Hello and welcome to AN! :)

In your nursing classes and clinicals you will learn the large amount of protection afforded by proper handwashing, and how to use PPE - personal protective equipment - when appropriate. PPE ranges from gloves - standard when there is any risk of possible presence / contact with bodily fluids - to gowns and other protective gear.

As far as personal habits, you will find a broad range of responses from nurses and other health care professionals. Personally, I only make sure I wash up to the elbows before leaving the hospital, and I avoid wearing my work shoes into my home. That's it. My scrubs get laundered with the rest of the family laundry. Sometimes, just the knowledge of what I've been exposed to that particular day sends me straight to the shower upon coming home, but that's the exception not the rule, and has a lot more to do with my own mental image of grossness than it does with actual risk of pathogens.

Good luck with your studies!

Thank you so much for the input. I currently work as a resident care assistant and med tech at an ALF so I'm familiar with PPE and handwashing. I definitely would want to have a separate area for my shoes and scrubs. Again, thank you!

vintagemother, ADN, CNA, LVN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Psych, Geri, LTC, Tele.

Different people handle this differently depending on their exposure and their personal germ-aphobe-ness.

As for me, I typically, as long as I wasn't exposed to something super yucky like c-diff, removed my shoes and put them in the entry or laundry room, but didn't wear them all through my house. I would sometimes wear them up to my room

And kick them off.

I did not wear them into the daycare facility to pick up my son, because I wanted to protect the small crawling kids from germs. I just stood in the entry.

As far as my scrubs, same deal. I didn't really worry about mixing them with my normal laundry as long as I wasn't exposed to anything super yucky.

Other people keep their shoes in the car or garage and launder scrubs separately.

If I was worried about contamination, I would immediately wash scrubs. Then I liked to hang dry mine to make them last longer, then put them in dryer on high heat to kill germs after they were dry.

Some nurses wipe their shoes with cavi- wipes daily. I didn't.

Here.I.Stand, BSN, RN

Specializes in SICU, trauma, neuro. Has 16 years experience.

We never wear shoes in the house. Otherwise? Handwashing. Honestly, I feel germier after a trip to Walmart than I do leaving my hospital. Plus, my patients generally don't have communicable infections anyway

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in OR, education. Has 16 years experience.

Just something to think about: all those people in the hospital, including those on isolation precautions where additional PPE is required, are out there in the community without the extra precautions. I'd be more worried about picking up something from the handle of the grocery cart than at the hospital where I have gloves, gowns, masks, and a heck of a lot more frequent hand washing.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 15 years experience.

My scrubs are washed in the same load as my regular laundry. 30 minutes in the clothes dryer on high heat will kill most microbes. I don't undress in the garage or anything like that. My work shoes are worn throughout the house.

You are more likely to get sick from touching shopping carts and ATM machine keys than you ever will from the hospital setting. Hospitals and nursing homes are deeply cleaned on a daily basis, whereas peoples' homes are not.

FlyingScot, RN

Specializes in Peds/Neo CCT,Flight, ER, Hem/Onc. Has 28 years experience.

No special precautions. My shoes come off as soon as I get in the house but that goes for any shoes I'm wearing. Scrubs in the laundry with the rest of the clothes. Pretty sure I've never gotten sick from them. I stopped getting colds when the grocery store started offering wipes for the cart handles.