Bare below elbows - hospital policy?

I was hoping there might be someone out there who works for the NHS that can give me some information/advice?

I do voluntary work which includes the new patient led assessments of hospitals - look at the cleanliness of wards etc. The first Trust said that their policy for this was ‘bare below the elbows’ obviously for infection control reasons. However, we do not have any direct patient contact. Mostly this is observation work (checking how clean the ward is etc) but we do talk to a few patients. Interestingly, we did see doctors with long sleeves but were told that was okay because they weren’t directly dealing with patients at that point - so what exactly is the policy?

This means that wearing the compression sleeve rules out my ability to take part. I did do one hospital assessment but my arm was more swollen by the end of the day so I won’t do that again.

I really want to do this voluntary work but can’t get clarification. Anyone with any info out there?
Thank you, Elinda x

Bumping for Elinda

Hi Elinda. I work for the NHS and need to use a sleeve. Our policy is “naked below the elbow”, so I’ve had conversations with our Infection Control team about how to manage infection and my lymphodema. I do have patient contact, but only shaking hands, or a comforting touch on the shoulder or whatever. I have a gauntlet, which I pull back to gel/wash hands after each patient contact. If I have to go into a side ward where there is MRSA, everyone needs glvoes and apron. I have a long glove (to elbow) in my bag. I look like a vet about to do something nasty, but it works. Initially, I took the sleeve off to go into that room, but now my sleeve fiixes to my bra strap, that’s less easy!

Hope that helps. …


Hi Jane
That is very helpful. I wouldn’t even be shaking hands with a patient nor would I enter a ward with known MRSA. My thinking is therefore that I shouldn’t have any restrictions or even need the long glove you mention.
I think probably the problem is that I would potentially be going to a number of hospitals to do the PLACE assessments and it would need a discussion with each infection control dept. From there point of view it probably isn’t worth the hassle and they’d rather use a volunteer who could be bare below the elbows. I’ve just e-mailed the next one and I’ll be interested to see their response.