Best Tips for Infection Control in Healthcare: Part One

Transmission of infections in healthcare settings is prevented with proper measures and control programs. Precautions must be applied to workers and patients at all times to prevent transmission of infection. Click To Tweet By setting up an infection control program at your facility ensures a high level of protection to patients, healthcare workers, and visitors.

Infection Control Programs

Healthcare associated infections are currently one of the top ten leading causes of death in the United States. Setting up an infection control program in your health facility is imperative in preventing the spread of infection. Here are some top tips for setting up an infection control program to prevent the spread of infection in your healthcare facility. This week we will look at the importance of educating your staff and patient precautions when creating and maintaining an infection control program.

Education of Health Staff

Educating health workers is critical in the implementation of a successful infection control program. Not only will it help keep them healthy and safe, but it also plays a large role in patient health, too.

  • Hand washing: Hands are the most common vehicle for the spread of infectious disease and the single most effective means of preventing transmission of organisms and infection. Hands need to be washed before and after touching a patient, after body fluid exposure, and after touching a patient’s surroundings.
  • Personal protective equipment: Wearing protective equipment is a must for all personnel.
    • Wear gloves during procedures, or if coming into contact with blood or other fluids. Never wear the same pair of gloves for more than one patient.
    • Gowns are used to prevent soiling of clothes and skin during procedures. Remove the soiled gown directly after the procedure to avoid contamination.
    • Wear masks and eye protection to protect the mucous membranes of the nose, eyes, and mouth during procedures. Patients and health professionals with respiratory symptoms should also wear masks.
  • Patient care equipment: Staff should learn the appropriate way to handle patient care equipment. Equipment soiled with blood or body fluid secretions are handled with care and caution. All reusable equipment is cleaned and reprocessed in the correct manner before being used on another patient.
  • Prevent needle injuries: Staff should properly be trained in preventing needle, scalpel and other injuries caused by sharp, contaminated objects. Disposable needles and other sharp objects should be placed in a puncture-resistant container with a lid. Sharps must be disinfected or destroyed after use, per national standard guidelines.
  • Waste disposal: Uncollected or long-standing waste needs to be eliminated from the premises and avoided at all costs. A functioning waste management systems needs to be developed and closely monitored in order to maintain safety and prevent transmission of infectious diseases.

Patient Precautions

Not only does the workplace staff need to pay detailed attention to how they keep themselves sanitary, patient precautions are equally important. There are numerous things to consider when working with patients.

  • Bed spacing: The proper placement of patients is essential to keeping your healthcare office free from infection.
    • Open plans: In an open ward, there needs to be adequate spacing between beds to reduce cross-contamination and infection from occurring from direct or indirect contact with patients. Optimum spacing between beds in a shared space is one to two meters.
    • Single rooms: Single rooms reduce the spread of infection. Hand washing, as well as full bathroom facilities should be in each room to cut down on transmission between patients and staff.
  • Transportation of patients: Limiting the movement of patients is paramount in reducing transmission of micro-organisms to other patients, workers, and the entire hospital environment.
  • Isolation rooms: Isolation rooms are often utilized to prevent the spreading and contracting of infectious disease. Immunocompromised patients need to be isolated and never placed in the same or adjacent room of people with known infections.

Proper Precautions

Educating your health staff on the proper ways of infection control is the first place to begin when implementing an infection control plan in your healthcare facility. With thorough and proper cleaning, as well as taking needed patient precautions, you significantly decrease chances of spreading infection to workers, other patients, and the hospital environment. Next week we will delve deeper into infection control and look at other transmission-based precautions and environmental disinfection.

To learn more about setting up a viable infection control plan in your health care office, Contact Us.

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