How to Prevent Cross-Contamination in Healthcare Facilities
You should feel safe when seeking treatment, or working, in a healthcare facility or hospital. You go there to be healed or to heal others, however, sometimes people end up returning home with another ailment or infection. There are quite a few opportunities for illness to spread throughout a facility. In this article we will examine the root causes and some possible solutions to eliminate cross-contamination.
FOOD BORNE DANGERS
One of the most important, and most obvious, steps to take is to follow proper hygiene protocol. Food borne illness can be a major issue and sicken a mass quantity of people very quickly. It is of the utmost importance that kitchen staff take the necessary measures to ensure their equipment is sanitized and that they continually wash their hands to avoid spreading any of their own germs to staff or patients.
Naturally, this leads to hand washing for everyone.it is, “the single most important step in preventing cross-contamination.” Some great examples of when it is time to wash your hands would be before and after the following:
- Eating or drinking
- Applying cosmetics
- Preparing food
- Performing clean or sterile procedures
- Working with a patient
Wash your hands thoroughly, and change any hospital gowns, after coming into contact with bodily fluids, waste, and contaminated or soiled facility equipment.
EQUIPMENT AND FURNITURE
An overlooked root cause of cross-contamination is administrative equipment. The space between keys on the keyboard can easily collect bacteria. If the issue is not addressed, it can spread throughout the office and in no time make its way through the entire building.
Soft surfaces in a waiting room or a treatment room can be carriers of disease as well. Porous seat cushions, mattresses, room dividing curtains, towels, and so forth can all hold bacteria that can easily cause a cross-contamination.
The immediate surrounding areas of a patient’s bedside, including their food tray and night stand have been shown to be the most problematic when it comes to spreading disease. Several nurses and doctors visit multiple patients in a day, each of them touch their charts, and body and when they touch their surrounding areas, it is easy to spread infection, disease, or virus to others.
Thankfully, there are several effective solutions to this problem. One of which it to keep up to date on the most current vaccinations. This is helpful for staff, who come into contact with patients everyday they could infect them upon contact, as well as the public, to protect them in the event that they find themselves in a hospital or facility for treatment of something else.
The best solution will always be to wash your hands and sanitize surfaces with a disinfectant hospital grade. Be relentless about it when in a medical facility, as a patient or a staff member. As a staff member, a back up precautionary step to take would be to always wear medical gloves. When in doubt, put wash your hands and put those babies on to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you to make for healthy, happy patients and co-workers.