Controlling the spread of infection is imperative in healthcare settings. Infections and illnesses are common in hospitals, yet hospital patients are some of the most vulnerable people, so reducing the risk of infection spreading is incredibly important. Likewise, many elderly and vulnerable people live in care homes, so controlling infection is of paramount importance here too and therefore infection control training is really important.
There are several methods that can be used to control the spread of infection, all of which should be used where possible:
Poor hand hygiene is a leading cause of infection spreading, so good hand hygiene is particularly important in a healthcare environment. Hot water should be supplied at all sinks, along with soap and a way of drying hands.
Paper towels are considered the best method of hand-drying; hot-air driers have been shown to blow bacteria from a person’s hands to up to 2m away, potentially spreading infection. And, of course, shared hand towels should never be used in a healthcare setting. Foot-operated pedal bins are preferable for all waste.
Antibacterial hand washes should also be placed at regular intervals throughout the building, with noticeable signs to encourage staff and visitors alike to disinfect their hands regularly.
Disinfection and Sterilization
Keeping surfaces and areas clean is another important element in the prevention infection. Disinfection and sterilization are the two main methods used, with sterilization being the more effective, but more difficult, method.
Disinfection involves cleaning surfaces with liquid chemicals at room temperature. It’s effective at killing most bacteria, but not all. Sterilization can be done with either liquid chemicals, steam or just heat. Different sterilization methods can be used for different surfaces and items, such as surgical instruments.
Special surfaces containing antibacterial properties can be fitted to help reduce the growth of bacteria and the spread of infection. These antimicrobial coatings can be applied to most surfaces, not just to work benches and other flat areas. Door knobs, bed rails and other areas that receive a lot of contact are prime candidates for an antimicrobial surface coating.
Specialized clothing and equipment can be worn by workers in the healthcare industry to help protect them and their patients from infection. Bodily fluids such as saliva and blood are common methods of infection transmission, and so special equipment should be worn. Gloves, gowns, shoe coverings, goggles and masks are just some of the personal protective equipment available.
Depending on their particular line of work, some workers may choose to be vaccinated against certain diseases and infections. The flu, measles, mumps and hepatitis B are just a few of the things workers may be vaccinated against. By having these vaccinations, workers are less likely to become infected or to infect others during the course of their work.
If you work in the healthcare industry, or you wish to, and want to learn more about infection control, you may be interested in undertaking one of our specialized courses which can help prepare for you work and advance your career.
This helpful information was provided by TutorCare, who specialize in offering a range of courses suitable for a number of different skill levels. Get in touch with them today to find out how they can make your business safer.