Controlling the Spread of Disease & Infection

tucson-caregiver-disease-hygiene-ppe

One of the most important aspects of environmental safety is infection control. As a caregiver you have a responsibility to understand and to follow infection control policies and procedures. By doing so, you protect the residents, yourself, your family, and your fellow workers from the possibility of acquiring an infection.

Some Important Terms Related To Infection Control Include:

  1. Organism — any living thing
  2. Microorganisms (commonly called germs) — tiny living things seen only with a microscope (Fig. 2-11)
  3. Pathogenic — causing disease
  4. Non-pathogenic — not capable of producing disease
  5. Infection — invasion of the body by a disease-producing (pathogenic) organism
  6. Aseptic — free of microorganisms

Guidelines For Infection Control: Hand Hygiene

Hand hygiene is widely acknowledged to be the single most important activity for reducing the spread of infection.

However, evidence suggests that many healthcare workers do not decontaminate their hands when they need to nor use the correct technique. Hand hygiene must be performed immediately before each and every episode of direct resident contact and after any activity or contact that could potentially result in hands becoming contaminated. REMEMBER: Wash your hands “before” and “after” providing care for a resident!

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Selection of personal protective equipment (PPE) must be based on an assessment of the risk of transmission of micro-organisms to the resident, and the risk of contamination of a caregiver’s clothing and skin by the resident’s blood, other body fluids, secretions or excretions.

Disposable gloves and aprons are used to protect both the caregiver and the resident from the risks of cross infection. In certain circumstances it may be necessary to wear other PPE, such as a mask and/or goggles/ visor. These should be worn when recommended by infection control personnel.

Disposable Gloves

Gloves are required when contact with blood or body fluids or non-intact skin is anticipated. They should be single use and well-fitting. Sensitivity to natural rubber latex in patients, caregivers must be documented, and alternatives to natural rubber latex gloves must be available. Gloves are not a substitute for hand hygiene.

Gloves must be discarded after each care activity for which they were worn in order to prevent the transmission of micro-organisms to other sites in that individual or to other residents. Washing gloves rather than changing them is not safe and therefore not recommended. Hands should always be decontaminated following removal of gloves.

Disposable Plastic Aprons

Disposable plastic aprons should be worn whenever there is a risk of contaminating clothing with blood or other body fluids, or when a resident has a known infection. A disposable plastic apron should also be worn during direct resident, bed-making, or when decontaminating equipment.

The apron should be worn as a single-use item, for one procedure or episode of patient care, and then discarded as clinical waste as soon as the intended task is completed. Hands should be washed following this activity. Aprons must be stored so that they do not accumulate dust that can act as a reservoir for infection.

Masks, Visors and Eye Protection

These should be worn when a procedure is likely to cause splashes with blood or body fluids into the eyes, face or mouth or when it is recommended by infection control personnel when a communicable disease is suspected. It is rare that such protection is necessary in a home. However, such protective equipment should be stored in the home in case of an emergency.

General Care Home Cleaning

homes should be cleaned and kept clean to the highest possible standard simply because residents, their families and the general public have a right to expect the highest standards of cleanliness. Caregivers should be aware that standards of cleanliness are often seen as an outward and visible sign of the overall quality of care provided. Individuals are likely to have significant concerns about the quality of care available in premises that are not kept clean.

A key component of providing consistently high quality cleaning is the presence of a clear plan setting out all aspects of the cleaning service and defining clearly the roles and responsibilities of all those involved, from managers through care staff to domestics. Where cleaning services are provided by private contractors this plan should also set out management arrangements to ensure the provider delivers against the contract.

Contracting out the cleaning service does not mean contracting out responsibility, and you will need to ensure there are suitable arrangements in place to monitor the standards being achieved and to deal with poor or unsatisfactory performance.

Important Things To Remember..

  1. When in doubt, wash your hands again!
  2. Dispose of soiled linens properly.
  3. Dispose of sharps (needles, diabetic lancets, etc) properly 4. Oh, did we mention to Wash Your Hands!

We take all of this very seriously especially with the Covid-19 epidemic. We can schedule deep cleaning services for your loved one, in addition to our standard light cleaning.

Our Author & Resident Caregiver
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