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Key Takeaways: Guideline for Surgical Attire

Publish Date: May 26, 2021


TAKEAWAY:

Because no recommendation can be made for the type of head covers worn in the semi-restricted and restricted areas (5.3) and an interdisciplinary team may determine the type of head covers that will be worn at the health care organization (5.3.1), religious head coverings that meet certain specifications may be worn to cover the hair and scalp without introducing risk to environmental contamination or surgical site infection. 

EXPLANATION:

Some religious traditions include the practice of wearing specific head coverings. Some of these head coverings are configured in a way that covers the hair and scalp and others also cover portions of the wearer’s neck and chest. 

Policy restrictions or policies that do not address the use of religious head coverings in perioperative settings can be a barrier for members of some religious groups who currently work or aspire to work in procedural areas. In a survey, researchers explored the experiences of female Muslim health care professionals who wore a headscarf in the surgical setting and their view on “bare below the elbows” policies. Most of the professionals (94%) agreed that wearing a headscarf was important to them because of their religious beliefs, yet more than half (51.5%) experienced problems trying to wear a headscarf in the perioperative setting; some women reported feeling embarrassed (23.4%), anxious (37.1%), or bullied (36.5%). The researchers concluded that policies can be at odds with an individual’s personal beliefs, which may contribute to a decrease in workplace diversity and fewer opportunities for certain groups.

  • NEW Religious head coverings (eg, head scarves [hijabs], veils, turbans, bonnets) that are clean, constructed of tightly-woven and low-linting material, are without adornments, and fit securely with loose ends tucked in the scrub top may be worn to cover the hair and scalp in the semi-restricted and restricted area. 5.3.2.
  • NEW Religious head coverings that cover only a portion of the hair and scalp (eg, kippahs, yarmulkes) may be worn under another head covering. 5.3.3.
  • REVISED Establish and implement a process for managing reusable head coverings (eg, cloth personal head coverings, religious head coverings), including
    • the type of fabrics (eg, nonlinting) that may be worn,
    • laundering frequency (eg, daily), and
    • laundering method (eg, facility laundering, home laundering) when reusable head coverings are worn in the facility. 5.3.4.

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