Best Tips for Infection Control in Healthcare: Part Two

A clean environment is another important part of preventing hospital-related infections. The education of health staff and patient precautions are just the first steps in identifying and reducing the risks of spreading infection in hospitals, clinics, freestanding surgical centers and physician’s offices. A proper infection control program must also incorporate transmission-based precautions and environmental disinfection.

Infection Control Program

It is imperative to the health of your patients and facility to implement transmission-based precautions and environmental disinfection in your infection control program. Here are ways to ensure these standard precautions are maintained.

Transmission-Based Precautions

Transmission-based precautions are the second tier of infection control and are to be used in your infection control program.

  • Airborne Precautions: Airborne precautions are designed to reduce transmission of diseases and infection caused by airborne pathogens, such as tuberculosis, herpes zoster, and measles.  Make sure patients who are suffering these contagious diseases wear a mask and are properly isolated to reduce the likelihood of airborne transmission.
  • Droplet Precautions: Examples of diseases transmitted by droplet are those associated with mucus, phlegm, sneezing, and coughing, such as pertussis, pneumonia, mumps, and meningitis. Health staff should always wear masks when working with these patients. Isolating these patients from others is another way to help reduce the spread of infection.
  • Contact Precautions: There are also contact precautions needed for diseases that are spread through physical contact, such as enteric infections, skin infections, and antibiotic-resistant organisms. The patient should be placed in a single room. Health staff needs to wear protective gowns and gloves when entering the room. It is also important to limit the transport of these patients to minimize the risk of spreading the infection.

Environmental Disinfection

A clean environment is essential for the prevention of hospital-related illness in your healthcare facility. Air and water management, along with cleaning and disposal methods should all be a part of your infection control program. Click To Tweet
  • Air Management: A ventilation system is crucial in minimizing microbial contamination. Air conditioning filters need to be changed frequently, and the use of fans should be avoided in high-risk areas of your facility. Use HEPA filters to provide clean air and lessen the threat of airborne pathogens from spreading.
  • Water Management: All healthcare facilities should provide clean water to their patients and staff. If water is held in storage tanks, they need to be cleaned and tested regularly and checked for bacterial contamination. Always store water in a hygienic environment and do not allow any hands to enter the storage container.
  • Cleaning and Sterilization: Routine cleaning is a top way to keep your health care facility clean and free from dust and infection spreading organisms. Most patient areas should be routinely cleaned by a wet mop. Sweeping is not recommended due to airborne pathogens. Any areas contaminated with visible blood or fluids need to be cleaned immediately with detergent and water. Patients with known transmissible diseases need to have their rooms cleaned at least once a day, as well as all horizontal surfaces and toilets.
  • Methods of Disposal: Healthcare waste is a reservoir of potential infection and requires proper disposal and handling. Develop a waste management program to stop the spread of infectious disease. Collect and store sharps in appropriate sharps containers with lids and marked with a biohazard symbol. Each healthcare facility should have a method for transporting waste. Some waste requires incineration, while others need to be transported to a centralized waste treatment facility.

Proper Precautions

Goals of your infection control program needs to be included in the mission statement of your facility. It is important to periodically assess the program for compliance with written and standard guidelines, as well as areas that need improvement. If there is an infection outbreak, conduct an investigation and report them to local and state authorities.

To learn more about transmission based infections and how to set up an infection control program at your facility, Contact Us.

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