Whenever people are not feeling well, they go to the hospital to understand how to treat their infections or diseases. That’s why one of the most essential buildings where hygiene practices must be properly implemented is a hospital. Instead of becoming even sicker because of hospital infections, people come to hospitals to seek medicine or treatment.
So, if you want to save your visitors’ health and help them have the best experience possible, check these 4 essential practices for preventing infections at hospitals.
Let’s dive in!
First and foremost, how can we imagine infection prevention without proper hand hygiene? Hospitals should take every precaution for proper hand hygiene, which includes hand washing, and the use of hygiene products, such as hand sanitizers, disinfectant wipes, surgical scrubs, and alcohol gel.
It may be surprising, but many healthcare professionals do not wash their hands as often as they should. Most of the time, they come into touch with patients or the patient environment and have the greatest risk of spreading microorganisms that might cause infection.
Microorganisms can spread from one patient to another, from equipment or the environment to patients, or between staff members, resulting in infection.
Hand hygiene can be accomplished with soap and water or with hand sanitizers, such as alcohol hand rub. The latter disinfects hands quickly and effectively, and they are widely encouraged by health and social care organizations.
Pro Tip: Remember, using soap and water is the first and most crucial step in properly washing hands, and your employees can use hand sanitizers when soap and water aren’t readily available.
Now, we should understand when is the right time to perform hand hygiene? Let’s see the cases:
- Before communicating with a patient
- Before touching an open wound
- Before touching medical equipment
- Before undertaking or performing any treatment and aseptic procedure
- After communicating with a patient
- After contact with body fluids, such as urine, blood, etc.
- After touching equipment and tools
Health care workers should consider the following standards when working:
- Cut nails and keep them polished, clean, and short
- Don’t wear jewelry and watches
- Don’t wear rings with stones
- Wear short sleeves or if it’s long, roll up their sleeves
- Cover wounds and cuts
The hands must be washed properly, including between fingers, nails, palms, etc. for a minimum of 20 seconds. And after washing hands, they must dry so it doesn’t spread bacteria and germs. Having disposable gloves is also essential for proper hand hygiene.
Decontamination of Equipment
Decontamination is a broad phrase that refers to any procedure that involves the removal of microorganisms to make the equipment safe for reuse. Inadequate decontamination is regularly linked to infection outbreaks in healthcare settings, and all healthcare workers must understand the consequences of inefficient decontamination. The latter includes cleaning, disinfecting, or sterilizing which can help to reuse medical devices again.
There may be some devices and equipment that are designed for single-use, which include:
- Disposable jugs
- Thermometer covers
Reusable, multi-patient use equipment must be properly cleaned, disinfected, and sterilized after each use:
- Cleaning — This method removes visible pollution with water and detergent, but it does not necessarily kill microorganisms.
- Disinfecting — The quantity of viable organisms is reduced using chemical agents or heat.
- Sterilizing — While disinfection removes or reduces hazardous microorganisms on surfaces, sterilization kills all microorganisms.
What about wipes? Wipes are becoming more popular for decontaminating low-risk patient equipment and environmental surfaces.
Pro-Tip: Equipment should be kept in a sterile place until it is used again.
A Clean Environment
A clean environment is also essential for overall hygiene and infection prevention at hospitals. Many harmful microorganisms can live on surfaces, even if they appear to be clean. These infections can live in a variety of places, including tables, doorknobs, and chairs. With that in mind, consider the following points for a clean area:
- Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces, such as door handles, tables, toilet flushes, faucets, etc. with disinfectant wipes.
- When cleaning, it’s critical to use the right cleaning solutions and disinfectants. Every facility should have precise cleaning processes, and healthcare staff should be informed of the schedules and duties for cleaning and sanitizing the environment.
- Many microbes can be found in patients’ settings, and these germs are frequently carried by patients or workers. Microorganisms can also be transmitted by staff contact with the current patient or a contaminated environment. Cross-infection can be reduced by maintaining high standards of hygiene.
- The floors should be cleaned properly as well.
For a clean and hygienic environment, consider buying the best hygiene products.
Disposing of Trash Properly
It is not uncommon for employees to be seriously impacted as a result of others’ risky or poor practices, especially when it comes to waste management. Consider the following clinical waste management practices:
- Practice segregation — Instead of dumping all waste in one location, it must be separated before being treated and disposed of. Segregation can be implemented using clinical waste bins and color-coded clinical waste bags.
- Educate employees — Regular staff training is essential, as many employees are unaware of proper clinical waste management. Pay special attention to new employees who join your team for the first time.
- Use visuals — Put up visual reminders for good waste management at your healthcare facilities, detailing which waste streams go into which colored waste containers.
These were some of the hygiene tips on how to prevent infections and maintain staff’s and visitors’ health. Implement these practices and stay healthy!