The seniors and staff in LTC facilities have a high risk of spreading HAIs (healthcare-associated infections) because of the challenges in the health care and the resident population. In the United States, infections associated with health care are estimated at 1.7 million and 99,000 related deaths annually.
All staff in Winter Park assisted living and many other facilities across the country should jointly work to reduce infections and offer a safe working environment for the staff and residents. Here are several ways nurses can slow or prevent the spread of germs.
Infection Prevention Basics
Germs may be on the gloves or hands of health care workers, medical equipment, or the facility’s surfaces. If these are not cleaned and disinfected as they should be, the germs might spread among themselves, to others, and the environment. In addition, due to the weakening ability of their immune systems to fight germs, older people are more vulnerable to infection and can be infected more easily.
Standard precautions are primary steps that all healthcare workers should seriously take to avoid the spread of germs. These precautions include;
- Keeping hands clean
- Not touching the face
- Covering sneezes and coughs in sleeves
- Using safety sharps and needles
Environmental Disinfection and Cleaning
Cleaning is physically removing dirt. Disinfecting is killing and eliminating germs that may cause disease. Unfortunately, equipment and surfaces can harbor these germs.
All surfaces and equipment should be cleaned and disinfected often and between uses. It will help to prevent germs and diseases from spreading. Disinfecting and cleaning agents are recommended for all frequently touched surfaces, such as;
- Medical carts
- Call lights
- Bed rails
- Personal care wipe packages
Contact time should be considered when cleaning. This is the length of time a sterilizer requires to stay wet on a surface to be effective.
Certain Transmission-based Precautions
Contact safety measures such as wearing a gown and gloves are special safety measures that staff should observe. Some germs can quickly spread by touching other staff members, residents, or equipment.
Surgery equipment should be sterile before the procedure. Proper care for wounds or when inserting medical devices such as urinary catheters and intravenous cannulas
Engaging Everybody in Infection Prevention and Control
Everyone in the facility, including health care workers, has a responsibility to engage in infection prevention and control. In addition, the staff should team up to improve the safety outcomes of residents for overall satisfaction.