Infections during healthcare provision are a common occurrence and are known as Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs). Patients tend to contract them through medical devices attached to them, such as catheters, ventilators, or drips. They’re also at risk of getting one when undergoing surgery or being admitted to the hospital for a long time. HAIs are one of the most problematic accidents in healthcare centers, being a cause of over 250 deaths per day worldwide.
However, almost all healthcare-associated infections are preventable and manageable. There is some precautionary measure that all hospitals and their staff need to take. There have been many improvements and research to regulate and organize safety incentives, incorporating them into clinical practices. Let’s look at some proven and valuable advances that will be useful in reducing the risk of healthcare-associated infections:
- Clean Environment
The essentiality of a clean environment is a fundamental rule to prevent infection in a healthcare setting. Doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff need to take careful steps in ensuring environmental hygiene. And unclean surfaces are the most significant reason behind the transmission of infection in patients. It is necessary to appropriately disinfect the surfaces touched by patients or the staff to reduce exposure to infectious microorganisms and anti-drug resistant infections.
The research found HAIs primarily reside in environments like surfaces of bed covers, medical equipment, water systems, and even the walls and the floors. Hence, hospital workers should take necessary steps like cleaning floors, changing bed covers, and sterilizing equipment. All of this would reduce the risk of microbial contamination and decrease the number of infectious germs present in the healthcare setting. Since HAIs are a public health concern, the hospital staff need to learn more about this. Many hospital authorities are encouraging their nursing staff to take up a bachelor’s or masters degree in public health online to understand better the importance of public health.
- Hand Hygiene
Hand hygiene is the most critical factor in the overall hygiene of a healthcare setting. Not only is it the least expensive method but also the simplest and easiest one. To reduce the spread of HAIs, microorganisms, and microbial agents, all healthcare workers must prioritize washing hands timely. The world health organization (WHO) has defined five critical times when it is necessary for a healthcare worker to perform complete health hygiene. Before they clean and carry out an antiseptic procedure, two before they touch a patient. And three, after they’ve been around patients, touched a body fluid or the patient himself/herself.
Sadly, the rate at which global healthcare settings follow these hand hygiene procedures is meager or is less than optimal. It is essential to realize that washing hands appropriately is one of the primary steps you could take in reducing the risk of HAIs. Patients have the authority to inquire of their physicians and nurses if they have washed their hands before examining them. And patients should also clean and sanitize their hands regularly as they complete their stay in the hospital.
- Knowledge About Symptoms
After taking the primary steps of ensuring that your patients and workers do not contract the virus, the next move is to ensure that you realize the symptoms of HAIs promptly. So that you could treat them before it’s too late. Knowledge regarding such a subject comes with good clinical practice and academic advancement, so many hospitals are looking for substantial experience. Many medical students take up degrees like online MPH to acquire knowledge about such complicated issues.
More often than not, these symptoms are as apparent as a skin infection – it causes redness, plumpness, and pain. Or you might want to look out for common symptoms like fever, cough, diarrhea, etc. For early diagnosis, your hospital can make a regular screening process for patients. Several healthcare reports and research have recommended making surveillance and screening a part of everyday hospital activities. It halts the spread of the virus because then the colonized patient is kept in isolation, preventing transmission of the infection into other patients, visitors, and staff members. Isolation has become an integral practice in light of the ongoing CoronaVirus pandemic. However, many hospitals still don’t implement them because of cost and time constraints.
- Pre-Admission Care
Hospitals are taking screening processes seriously as the spread of COVID-19 increases, but it is still not enough. As hospital management, you must ensure that patients have been under necessary precautions to reduce the risk of spread. There are some steps that patients also need to take to ensure that they do not contract HAIs or become a transmitting body for others. They shouldn’t smoke before going into the healing process. It increases the chances of getting a chest infection due to blocked airways. And, they should inform their doctors of their current medical condition even if it is insignificant in their point of view. Patients should also try to maintain a healthy weight to keep their immunity strong. Pre-admission care does include essential check-ups like measurement of weight, height, sugar level, and blood pressure. All these factors contribute significantly to avoid catching healthcare-associated infections.
To avoid healthcare-associated infections, hospitals implement several policies and focus on faster recovery to discharge patients sooner. Healthcare staff should also understand that some people are more susceptible to HAIs than others, so they should give proper patient care at all times. After all, the lesser the risk of spread of HAIs in your healthcare setting, the better patient care you provide, which matters a lot to your clients.