Infection control is a constant in healthcare facilities. Learn how they are fortified in the face of outbreak and a global pandemic.
It’s no surprise that infection control is absolutely paramount when it comes to patient care and disease prevention. And it’s beyond likely we’ll see these sanitation efforts compounded as actions are taken to quell the outbreak of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.
So, what exactly does that look like for providers in the midst of today’s and future outbreaks? More specifically, how can providers go above and beyond to protect not only their patients, but their staff as well.
Cut Down on Exposure Opportunities
When scheduling appointments, make it a common practice to have patients call ahead and notify the staff of their arrival if they’re exhibiting infection symptoms. Doing so can ensure the patient can be met outside of the facility and taken through an entrance that doesn’t expose them to healthy patients.
Once inside the facility, any patients suspected of being afflicted with the virus need to be removed from the general patient population. For areas set aside for infected patients, well-ventilated rooms are essential. Furthermore, these rooms should have ample access to hygiene supplies for the infected population’s use and be removed from the facility’s general population.
Manage Patient and Visitor Movement
Managing patient movement with a patient tracking system can help your staff ensure visitors aren’t leaving quarantine and infecting others.
Thankfully, RFID bracelets and scanners can provide a very potent system for patient and staff tracking. By having patients in quarantine wear one of these bracelets and installing a real-time locating software on your medical panel computers, you can ensure proper staff is notified in case an infected patient breaks quarantine.
You’ll also want to limit movement and interaction between guests and visitors. Video-calling applications can allow patients to interact with their loved ones even if they’re unable to be in the same room. Medical grade tablets are ideal for these video-calling apps, especially during highly infectious outbreaks, because of their antimicrobial properties. Be wary not to invest in device manufacturers that only apply an antimicrobial coating on the outside of their devices, as these coatings and sprays degrade over time and lose their efficacy.
Don’t Forget Environmental Infection Control
While infection control at the patient to patient level is essential, environmental infection control needs to be given a fair share of attention as well. All it takes is one un-sanitized tool, utensil, or room to infect a healthy patient who can go on to infect several others before they’ve even been diagnosed. Fortunately, RFID capabilities can kill two birds with one stone by addressing both patient to patient and environmental infection control.
Applying a barcode to surgical tools and equipment allows you to scan these items into a system and mark whether or not they’ve been disinfected. With this, a doctor can scan a tool after it’s been used, marking it as “soiled” before it’s sent off to be sanitized. From there, whoever sanitizes the tool can scan it back into the system as “clean.” The next time a caregiver uses that tool, all they’d need to do is scan the tool into the system and confirm whether it’s been sanitized.
Of course, it’s not just tools used on patients that can be infected. Computers, workstations, even the rooms a patient resides in need to be addressed. Investing in antimicrobial medical cart computers that are fanless can ensure two things: that the devices themselves won’t spread infection, and that harmful bacteria won’t be circulated around the room because of a PC’s internal fan.
Train Your Staff on Proper Infection Control
Always make sure your staff, from its highest levels down to its lowest, is aware of proper sanitation procedures and don’t be afraid to review them in cases such as an outbreak where the watch needs to be more vigilant. Proper hand washing is always a good topic to revisit as it’s one of our primary methods of defense against costly hospital acquired infections.
Infection Control is Constant
Proper sanitation and infection control are invaluable skills for both patients and healthcare staff and investing in them is never a wasted effort. For more information about how your team can improve their approach to infection control, contact an expert from Cybernet today.