Controlling harmful pathogens is among the most important of all responsibilities borne by healthcare providers in either the private or public sector. The spread of germs can lead to severe complications, and patients being treated using catheters and ventilators are at particular risk. Let’s consider some of the practices that can help to limit that risk. Many of them are procedural, others involve the use of simple technologies.
Clean your Hands
An unclean pair of hands can unwittingly spread harmful microbes with frightening ease. If they’re treating hundreds of patients in a given day, the potential for contamination becomes severe. Thus the most important practical step medical practitioners can take toward germ control is to wash their hands regularly throughout the day. An alcohol-based sanitiser is an ideal solution; it’ll kill 99% of germs without the need for repeated towel-drying.
Wear a Mask
Given that so many germs are inhaled and exhaled with every breath, partitioning off the mouth becomes especially important. Masks are a useful means of stopping the spread of viral infections, and so they’re especially warranted in facilities where flu-like symptoms are treated.
Clean the Environment
Harmful microbes thrive in dirty environments. It’s for this reason that all healthcare facilities should take sanitation seriously. This means devising a cleaning plan and ensuring that all cleaning staff are made to follow a strict procedure, with limited room for creative interpretation. Toilets should be cleaned, bedsheets changed, and floors mopped, on a regular basis. This activity should be logged.
Take Food Safety Seriously
Food offers certain sorts of virus and bacteria, like salmonella, the perfect opportunity to thrive. Once they find their way into the digestive system, they can wreak havoc. Thus, the sanitary preparation of food in a medical setting is crucial. Ensure that catering staff stick to the cleanliness protocols we’ve outlined, and that patients are provided with hand-wash to use before and after they’ve eaten.
Deploy Partition Screens
Medical partition screens aren’t just a flexible means of protecting a patient’s privacy. They will also limit contact between potentially contagious patients. They’re more easily cleaned than curtains, which helps to promote a more hygienic environment. Moreover, they effectively isolate patients from non-airborne pathogens.
Ensure Waste is Dealt With
Hospital waste can often be packed with germs, and so it must be disposed of quickly. This means making waste disposal units available, and ensuring that staff make use of them. Most hazardous waste consists of blood-soaked bandages, sharps and body parts. These must be disposed of according to strict rules. Some facilities, such as those providing certain sorts of cancer treatment, will generate radioactive waste, which requires special disposal procedures.
Send Patients Home
Patients who require regular monitoring and treatment will benefit from a medical facility environment, to the extent that a minor risk of contamination is worth taking. But if there’s no reason to stay, a home environment might well be a safer one. It’ll protect patients from one another, and free up a bed!