What is known?
The coronavirus has a high transmissibility rate through means of respiratory droplets, direct contact and aerosolised particles. Doctors are at a higher risk of contracting and dying from the virus. Therefore, doctors are worried that they may spread the infection of COVID-19 onto themselves and to their family members at home from their working environments.
What is the question?
We carried out a qualitative survey to find out the common hygiene adaptations in hospitals and at home by doctors in the UK. These hygiene practices should be shared to other healthcare workers in an attempt to reduce the spread of infection onto themselves and their family, or in the unfortunate event of a second wave of the pandemic.
What was found?
The important hygiene practices we feel are useful for other healthcare workers to know about:
Hygiene adaptations in hospital
  • The majority of doctors were aware of and complied to the standard PPE guidelines set by the PHE.

  • Frequent hand washing of 10–20 times during a normal working shift.

  • Changing from work clothing to scrubs before entering the clinical setting and similarly changing back before returning home.

  • Some doctors wore separate shoes that are dedicated to the hospital.

  • Around half of the participants cleaned their mobile phones after leaving the wards.

Hygiene adaptations at home:
  • Doctors expressed high levels of anxiety on the risk of spreading the infection onto their families.

  • The majority of doctors routinely in the direct care of patients with COVID-19 slept in a separate room from their families at home.

  • Doctors took off their work shoes before entering their home.

  • Doctors separated their work belongings in the household.

  • Doctors commonly chose to wash their clothing at a temperature of 60–80°C and with hot water.

  • Doctors in the direct care of patients with COVID-19 disposed of their scrubs in a red sealing bag after use.

  • Most doctors washed the scrubs that they wore for the hospital daily.

  • Majority of doctors took a hot shower upon returning home before interacting with any family member.

What is the implication for the practice now?
These common practices are of great benefit for other healthcare workers to learn from. By adopting these practices, healthcare workers across the world could potentially be further reducing the risk of the spread of the COVID-19 infection, both to themselves and their families.
Also, by learning from these common practices, we can better prepare ourselves to potentially deal with an anticipated second wave of the coronavirus.