The American College of Surgeons (ACS), the American Society of Anesthesiologists, the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, the Association of Surgical Technologists, the Council on Surgical and Perioperative Safety, and The Joint Commission recently developed consensus recommendations on operating room (OR) attire. The recommendations focus specifically on ear and hair covering.
The group has reached the following conclusions:
Evidence-based recommendations on surgical attire developed for perioperative policies and procedures are best created collaboratively, with a multidisciplinary team representing surgery, anesthesia, nursing, and infection prevention.
The requirement for ear coverage is not supported by sufficient evidence.
At present, available scientific evidence does not demonstrate any association between the type of hat or extent of hair coverage and surgical site infection rates. In fact, a recent report in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons on head coverings (disposable bouffant or skullcap, cloth cap) identified that the commonly available disposable bouffant hat is the least effective barrier to transmission of particles.
Other issues regarding areas of surgical attire need further evaluation.
For details, read the consensus statement on the ACS website at facs.org/about-acs/consensus-statements/or-attire.
In addition, the ACS recently received notification from The Joint Commission indicating that the accrediting body will incorporate the specifications outlined in the consensus statement into its survey procedures for hospitals and other relevant health care facilities.