Infection Control & First Aid Blog

All Patients Deserve Standard Precautions

[fa icon="calendar"] 6/26/17 9:00 AM / by Jill Tilton

These standard precautions start with the caregivers and protect both the patient and themselves. These standard precautions are used to prevent infections and transmission of illness.

What are standard precautions?

They are a set of infection control practices used to prevent diseases that can be acquired by contact with blood, body fluids, non-intact skin (including rashes), and mucous membranes. These practices should be used anytime when providing care whether or not the individual appears to be symptomatic or infectious.

Hand Hygiene

Clean Hands Count

This standard precaution applies to both washing hands with soap and water as well as the practice of sanitizing hands with an alcohol-based solution to decontaminate your hands. Hand Hygiene should be performed before any contact with a patient has begun as well as after.

Here are many situations where hand hygiene should take place: when there is any contact with blood or bodily fluids, non-intact skin, mucous membranes or contaminated items, immediately after removing gloves, when moving from contaminated body sites to clean body sites during client care, after touching objects and medical equipment in the immediate client-care vicinity, before eating, after using the restroom, and after coughing or sneezing into a tissue as part of respiratory hygiene.

Fact: A health care provider may need to wash their hands 100 times during a 12-hour shift depending on the number of patients and intensity of care!

Also - it is important to note that wearing gloves is not a substitute for washing your hands.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

This equipment includes items that create a barrier between the care give and the patient. These items include masks, gloves, gowns, respirators, eye wear. PPE is used as a last resort when work practices and engineering controls alone cannot eliminate worker exposure.

Wear gloves when touching blood, body fluids, non-intact skin, mucous membranes, and contaminated items. Wear a surgical mask and goggles or face shield if there is a reasonable chance that a splash or spray of blood or body fluids may occur to the eyes, mouth, or nose. Wear a gown if skin or clothing is likely to be exposed to blood or body fluids.

The OSHA PPE Standards 1910.132(link is external) and 1910.133(link is external) require employers to provide PPE for employees with hazard exposure in the workplace, train employees on the proper use of PPE, and properly maintain, store, and dispose of PPE.

Respiratory Hygiene / Cough

This item could be simply outlined as "cover your cough", but there is a lot more that goes into this topic. When coughing/sneezing, an individual should cover their mouth and nose with a tissue and then discard that tissue in the nearest waste receptacle. Immediately following this event, proper hand hygiene should be performed.

Healthcare facilities should ensure the availability of materials for adhering to Respiratory Hygiene/Cough Etiquette in waiting areas for patients and visitors. There should be tissues and no-touch receptacles provided for used tissue disposal, as well as conveniently located dispensers of alcohol-based hand rub; where sinks are available, ensure that supplies for hand washing.

Appropriate Patient Placement

If a patient is incredibly infectious the risk of transmission increases. As many of you know the majority of infections in a hospital are transmitted from a patient to a healthcare professional and then onto a new patient. When a situation arises where there is a high infection risk, the patient should be isolated into an area where they cannot transmit their infection or disease to anyone else.

A healthcare facilities infection control manager or personnel should personally look after this case to be sure that additional transmission does not occur. A system for detection and management of infectious persons should be developed.

Cleaning & Disinfection

High touch surfaces require the most attention. Whether it is a doorknob, elevator buttons or sinks; these places must be cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis. We recommend utilizing our SaniZide Plus or SaniZide Pro line of sprays and wipes. They are each a broad spectrum disinfectant and deodorizer for environmental surfaces.

The CDC has released guidelines for both environmental infection control as well as disinfection and sterilization

Textiles & Laundry

There are many regulations and recommendations for handling laundry according to the CDC. They begin with the laundry facility and equipment where a facility should maintain the receiving area for contaminated textiles at a negative pressure compared with the clean areas of the laundry in accordance with AIA construction standards in effect at the time of facility construction. Ensure that laundry areas have handwashing facilities and products and appropriate PPE available for workers. Do not leave damp textiles or fabrics in machines overnight.

These guidelines also include the handling of laundry that is (or may be contaminated). A facility should handle contaminated textiles and fabrics with minimum agitation to avoid contamination of air, surfaces, and persons. All bags or containers for contaminated textiles should be identified with labels, color coding, or other alternative means of communication as appropriate. 

Finally, the process ends with the washing of the laundry in which when hot-water laundry cycles are used, wash with detergent in water ≥160°F (≥71°C) for ≥25 minutes. A facility should choose chemicals suitable for low-temperature washing at proper use concentration if low- temperature (<160°F [<71°C]) laundry cycles are used. Once the laundry is complete, package, transport, and store clean textiles and fabrics by methods that will ensure their cleanliness and protect them from dust and soil during inter-facility loading, transport, and unloading.

Safe Injection Practices

One Needle, One Syringe, Only One Time. Safe Injection Practices Coalition.The many unfortunate outbreaks of hepatitis B and hepatitis C infections in US ambulatory care facilities have prompted the need to re-emphasize safe injection practices. All health care personnel who give injections should rigorously follow the CDC recommendations - Safe Injection Practices

The One & Only Campaign is a public health campaign, led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Safe Injection Practices Coalition (SIPC), to raise awareness among patients and healthcare providers about safe injection practices. The campaign aims to eradicate outbreaks resulting from unsafe injection practices. 

Needlestick & Sharp Injury Prevention Practices

Approximately 385,000 needlesticks and other sharps-related injuries occur with hospital-based healthcare personnel each year. Safe handling of needles and other sharp devices are components of standard precautions that are implemented to prevent health care worker exposure to bloodborne pathogens. The Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act mandates the use of sharps with engineered safety devices when suitable devices exit.



Topics: Infection Control, Standards & Compliance

Jill Tilton

Written by Jill Tilton

As the Digital Marketing Strategist, Jill works on strengthening the Safetec website and brand. She optimizes the website to its peak potential and suggests different marketing techniques to bring in qualified leads to the sales team. She also works with online marketplaces such as Amazon, ESP, and ThomasNet to generate additional revenue. In her off time, Jill enjoys spending time with her family.

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