The Public Health Agency of Sweden
Published 10 July 2018

Basic hygiene routines and dress code for healthcare staff

As of 2007 (updated in 2015), there are regulations issued by the National Board of Health and Welfare with the aim of preventing infections from spreading within health and social care services.

The rules in the regulations are obligatory. Listed below are the main measures included in the regulations.

  • Work wear shall have short sleeves and be changed daily and more often when needed.
  • A disposable plastic apron or protective gown must be used to protect the work wear if they are at risk of coming into contact with body fluids or other biological substances.
  • The lower arms and hands must be free from wristwatches, jewellery, bandages, dressings, supports or equivalent. Nails must be short and free from artificial materials.
  • Hands must be disinfected using an alcohol-based hand disinfectant or another product with a similar effect immediately before and after each direct contact with a patient.
  • Soap and water must only be used on visible or noticeable dirt and when caring for a patient/resident suffering from gastroenteritis.
  • Protective gloves must be used if there is risk of contact with body fluids or other biological substances. Gloves must be immediately removed afterwards and changed between different stages of work.

The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions conducts annual surveys to measure compliance with the rules.