Healthcare facilities are exposed to the risk of cross-contamination and without proper mitigation measures, both stuff and patients can suffer from infections and diseases that would otherwise have been prevented. Prevention of cross-contamination reduces the chances of infection of patients and staff, it reduces the length of stay in hospitals by patients, and use of hospital resources. In order to ensure germs and viruses are not spread to people in these facilities, hospitals are living up to the challenge by putting in place measures that help prevent contamination. But how are they doing it?
Routine Environmental Cleaning
Healthcare facilities schedule regular cleaning as well as sanitization and disinfection to help control bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens before they spread to rooms and surfaces. Items and surfaces, which are frequently touched tend to be more susceptible to contamination. Frequent and thorough cleaning is thus required to keep them free of harmful microbes.
Hospitals are training their staff on protocols about basic cleaning within the premises particularly in areas that people tend to access most or surfaces, which they frequently come in contact with. For example, bed rails, door handles, bathroom faucets, telephones, computers, toilet seats, and elevator buttons are some high-touch areas cleaning staff focus on in hospitals.
Wearing Protective Apparel
Healthcare workers, doctors, nurses, and other professionals need to wear protective clothing when going along their duties and attending to patients. There are different kinds of protective apparel each designed to meet specific working environments. For example, hospitals should have protective gowns, headwear, lab coats, jackets, footwear, and scrub suits to help the people working in the facilities to be protected. “Procedure gowns are an important way to prevent contamination in instances where contact with infectious materials is expected,” says AvaCare Medical.
Encouraging Proper Hand Hygiene
Having proper hand hygiene is paramount to prevent cross-contamination. Studies show that if every nurse, doctor, and healthcare worker washes their hands between every patient they attend to, it would dramatically reduce the rate of infections in hospitals. Proper hand hygiene involves a few basic practices like washing hands at the correct time and in the correct manner. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends healthcare facilities to perform hand hygiene before eating, after using washrooms, before and after being in contact with the skin of patients, after removing gloves, and after dressing hands. Hospital staff and practitioners should also wash their hands after they have come in contact with broken skin and bodily fluids.
Using the Right Sanitation and Cleaning Supplies
Healthcare facilities should have cleaning and sanitation supplies like disinfectants, microfiber cloths, and sanitizers. Microfiber cloths help pick up debris, dirt, and germs better than traditional materials. Alcohol-gel hand sanitizers are used throughout hospitals to prevent and stop germs from spreading between surfaces or body areas.
Observing these hygiene practices in hospitals helps ensure that incidents of cross-contamination and the chances of infection to both the staff and patients are reduced significantly. While these practices may seem simple to observe, often hospital staff fail to adhere to them thus risking not only their health, but also that of the patients themselves.