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Four Ways Hospital and Clinic Staff Can Reduce the Spread of Infection

April 10, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 176

Cross-contamination between patients is a very real and very dangerous risk that hospitals and clinics face. Even if you sanitize each room after patients leave, cross-contamination is still possible due to the people your patients interact with: your staff. By following a few simple sanitation protocols, you can help to significantly reduce your hospital or clinic's risk of cross-contamination.

Hand Hygiene

One of the most important steps your staff can take is to wash or sanitize their hands thoroughly after each patient interaction. To encourage this, post reminders and install washing or sanitizing stations everywhere: in patient rooms, in hallways, at nursing stations, and even in elevators. Be sure that your maintenance staff is checking soap and sanitizing solution levels regularly throughout the day to ensure that hand sanitization is available when your staff needs it.

Avoid Wearing Ties

This tip actually goes for any sort of accessory that can come in contact with your patients accidentally: ties, necklaces, bracelets, rings, et cetera. These accessories provide a nesting ground for germs to settle in and multiply, and the fact that they are rarely washed allows them to easily transfer germs from one patient to another upon accidental contact. Your doctors and other staff may simply not realize that these items need washing just as frequently as their clothes or scrubs. To avoid potential dangerous cross-contamination, the easiest solution is to require that these items be removed before your staff goes on duty. While ties and other accessories may look nice, your patients will appreciate having one less thing that might infect them with new germs.

Equipment Sanitization

You certainly already have an equipment sanitization protocol in place, but you should constantly examine both how effective it is and how well your staff follows it. Disposable items should remain covered unless in use, and reusable items should be sanitized between patient use. Have doctors use stainless steel clipboards for easy sanitization, and be sure that they sanitize easy-to-forget items like their stethoscopes between patient visits.

Professional Laundering of Uniforms

As a part of your campaign to avoid cross contamination between patients, it is essential that you have your staff uniforms, including doctor lab coats, professionally laundered daily. If you allow your staff to perform this crucial function on their own, you run the risk of having an individual accidentally not follow essential protocol. (Doctors will often wear their lab coats without washing them despite being aware of the risks inherent in wearing a dirty or germy lab coat.) By having a professional laundry service perform this function instead, you can ensure that your staff's uniforms are being sanitized to the highest industry standards and that you will be able to maintain a much more consistent inventory of available uniforms for staff.

Aly Merritt is the Marketing Manager at Angelica Corporation, a leader in the medical linen service industry. Originally founded in 1878, Angelica Corporation now products healthcare linen solutions and hospital laundry services nationwide.

Source: EzineArticles
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