CORNERSTONES OF HOSPITAL INFECTION CONTROL

WHAT ARE THE 12 CORNERSTONES OF HOSPITAL INFECTION CONTROL?

Can hospitals spread diseases instead of eliminating them? Some recent outbreaks indicate that our clinics/hospitals must improve their infection control strategies for their patients’ safety. In the past, we saw diseases such as norovirus originating from healthcare facilities and spreading nationwide. The CDC estimated that hospital-acquired infections caused 99,000 deaths annually. Long-term caregiving facilities can reduce these deaths by implementing standard procedures recommended by the world’s leading health experts. We’ve compiled some suggestions to reinforce the infection control mechanism at our hospitals. So, following the below-mentioned strategies can prevent infections from spreading:

Infection Control Precautions Your Hospital Must Follow

Following these practices/procedures can prevent the person-to-person transmission of diseases such as coronavirus while minimizing the risk from other airborne/bloodborne diseases. That’s why it’s crucial to follow some basic levels of hygiene within the hospital premises. Health workers must use sharp instruments carefully and observe environmental cleaning regularly. These precautions can prevent patients from getting exposed to pathogens in healthcare and similar facilities. So, here are the twelve significant precautions we deemed necessary enough to be stated:

PPE

Wearing PPE can effectively mitigate the spread of diseases among doctors, nurses, and patients. It has become vital for health workers to wear personal protection equipment to save lives and ensure everyone’s safety around them. You can also buy affordable PPE by Medical Links LLC to change it after tending to one patient (unless it’s reusable). If the equipment’s reusable, decontaminate it after having used it once. If it’s damaged, dispose of it to avoid exposure to dangerous pathogens.

Managing Fluids

Hospital managers must ensure that their workforce is well-trained regarding blood, urine, and bodily fluids management. These leaks may contribute to the transmission of diseases such as HIV – therefore – decontaminating the area after a spillage ensures other residents’ safety. They must apply different techniques to clean bodily fluids from various surfaces to manage the possibility of bloodborne diseases from spreading swiftly. These surfaces must get disinfected for safety.

Managing Linen

Health workers shouldn’t jumble clean linen with spoiled linen. It’s essential to store linen properly to control infections. After using linen, workers must keep these spoiled clothes safe by reducing the movement of infected wardrobes. Therefore, a laundry trough should be available close to the area where the linen was being used. Place the linen in a container filled with water to reduce its movement and ensure proper tagging for immediate identification. It is how used linen is now kept safe.

Managing Equipment

Besides clothes, medical devices also contribute to the spread of diseases within the hospital premises. Therefore, the Oxford University Hospital study revealed that multiuse auxiliary thermometers caused the outbreak of an HCAI called Candida Auris in Brazil. That’s why we suggest using non-contact thermometers to limit infections while disinfecting your equipment before using them on another patient. Medical devices are carefully managed to safeguard residents from the coronavirus.

VAP

Threats from ventilator-associated pneumonia have increased during an ongoing pandemic. It harms patients who already suffer from a weak immune system. Health workers have proposed some evidence-based practices – therefore – to reduce VAP cases. These procedures include diminishing a patient’s exposure to mechanical ventilation and maintaining fine oral care to ensure VAP cases remain minimal in hospitals. So, it prevents patients from contracting pneumonia while ventilated.

TBPs

Transmission-based precautions accompany standard precautions. TBPs prevent infected patients from spreading harmful pathogens that may endanger healthy patients. These precautions aren’t meant for people with bloodborne ailments (e.g., HIV). Instead, TBPs handle droplet, contact, and airborne transmission channels (e.g., influenza, scabies, and measles, respectively). However, the nature of the patient’s infection may change these precautions, a physician’s decision to make.

Hand Hygiene

Continuous handwashing constitutes one of the most important infection control procedures during this pandemic. A report suggests that some 6.5% of Pakistani patients develop surgical infections. A health worker observing proper hand hygiene can prevent these infections from affecting patients. So, wash your hands after/before touching a patient and before performing any aseptic process. This practice has become popular after the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic today.

Respiratory Hygiene

After COVID emerged, health experts suggested cough hygiene to prevent patients from infecting a healthy person. Thanks to this rhyme, the precaution was already circulating: “Catch it, bin it, and kill it.” It ensures that people cover their noses/mouths when coughing/sneezing. After using them, they should dispose of tissue papers and then wash their hands to eliminate viruses/bacteria that have escaped from their noses/mouths. So, health workers must encourage patients to adopt this way.

Isolation & Cohorting

Health workers must segregate infected patients from healthy residents while restricting the motion of the diseased within the facility. Unwell people should refrain from using common areas. In contrast, roommates must observe strict handwashing practices and utilize separate toilet facilities. The spread of illnesses is slowed by isolating an infected group. Hospital admins must provide dedicated individuals to look after the infected. These policies were implemented during the coronavirus outbreak.

Food Hygiene

Only the catering people must have access to the kitchen – especially during an ongoing pandemic. Diseased workers shouldn’t handle the food-making process upon return merely after their symptoms have stopped showing. Workers must sanitize their equipment along with washing all utensils with a detergent. Remember to throw away any food that has been touched or placed near an infected person. It’ll prevent healthy people from getting exposed to the infection.

Visitor restriction

You can’t risk outside people catching diseases that have spread in the hospital. Admins should limit visits to the facility during an outbreak unless infected patients have been segregated successfully. Admins also must warn visitors about the threats of infection and transmission by putting up signs in the hospital. They can also suggest restricting non-essential visitors (non-immediate family members are an example) from entering the institution. These tactics protect visitors from getting infected.

Disposing of waste

Hospitals classify their wastage into different categories to exhibit threats associated with each of them. They’re differentiated as domestic, contaminated, and hazardous waste. Your daily waste comes into the category of domestic wastage. Contaminated waste includes swabs and dressings, while high-risk wastage comprises medical devices. Admins must separate these wastes and dispose of them individually. Thus, observing proper waste disposal methods will keep infections at bay.

Conclusion

Infections acquired in hospitals are among the top 10 causes of death in the United States. Every seventh patient in advanced countries has got infected with HCAIs. Research confirms that some 6% of American patients acquire these infections in hospitals. These procedures include respecting hand hygiene and standardizing cough etiquette. Health workers should wear PPE while treating patients to reduce hospital-caused infections while sterilizing their equipment before surgery. Moreover, it’s vital to manage blood, urine, and other bodily fluids properly. When it comes to disposing of waste, they must adhere to certain guidelines. These are the cornerstones of hospital infection control in the 21st century.

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