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How to prevent hospital acquired infections: 12-step guide

 hospital acquired infections

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This guide outlines the 12 crucial steps to prevent hospital acquired infections in any medical or healthcare facility.

We expect healthcare and medical facilities to meet specific standards of cleanliness given their importance in the world. So, how clean are medical facility rooms and floors? Surveys conducted regarding the sanitation conditions in some of our medical facilities produced alarming results – especially about the floors.

In 2017, a study showed that 40 out of 100 occupied rooms had at least one object in contact with the floor. And patients were acquiring germs by touching things that’d been on the floor, thereby making floors some of the dirtiest surfaces inside a hospital facility. How do you ensure your clinic remains orderly and spotless? We have explained some strategies to help you get rid of germs and protect your patients from hospital acquired infections (HAIs).

Keeping hospitals sanitary and pristine

A 2015 survey indicated that only 50% of surfaces were disinfected accurately while cleaning a patient’s room. That is why they are sometimes covered in bacteria, thereby increasing the chances of germs spreading hospital acquired infections throughout the facility. A recent study has revealed that hospital floorings are frequently contaminated by germs resistant to common antiseptics hours after a patient has been admitted to the hospital. In the 21stcentury, unclean hospitals have become a national emergency.

So, who can solve this problem today? We suggest employing the services of healthcare administrators. With over 30% growth projected this decade, this vocation produces professionals well-versed in solving a hospital’s quality issues. Students can now pursue a Master in Health Administration degree to hone their managerial capabilities. Earning more than $103k, these health admins can improve the quality of medical services at any facility. 

12 steps to prevent  hospital acquired infections

They use the below-mentioned methods to keep hospitals in pristine conditions and prevent hospital acquired infections ;

1. Avoid cross-contamination

You can diminish contamination and the risk of  hospital acquired infections with instant disposal of unclean objects, thereby giving bacteria no chance of spreading. Therefore, you should dispose of mops and rugs after they’ve been used to clean the hospital. We also recommend using cleaning sprays to eradicate airborne organisms constantly. You can prevent germs from spreading by vacuuming and decontaminating continuously as well.

2. Don’t reuse unclean linen

It’s a no-brainer that you shouldn’t reuse dirty linen or cleaning cloths. So, administrators must ascertain that every cleaner purifies each room with a different microfiber material to avoid carrying one room’s germs to another location. Replace pillows and blankets, too, if someone accidentally drops them onto the floor. You can’t risk contaminating the hospital by exposing even a single location to unknown bacteria that would risk  hospital acquired infections.

3. Wear PPE properly

Housekeepers shouldn’t neglect wearing personal protective equipment when they’re cleaning the hospital. Wearing gloves, eyewear, and footwear can prevent cleaning staff from inadvertently spreading germs and  hospital acquired infections. Also, they should be instructed to wear/remove the PPE properly before separatingclothes from other garbage. Removing their masks/gloves without caution may cause infections among staff members.

4. Read labels

This tactic seems trivial when it comes to  hospital acquired infections. However, many housekeepers don’t bother to read the labels of cleaning equipment they employ. It isn’t suggested to start wiping and spraying without reading the label on the detergent’s bottle. You should read the instructions and then carefully follow the cleansing guidelines because that’s what makes products effective. You should act upon this tip, whether it’s a stand-alone product or a multipurpose one.

5. Overcleaning is good

There’s nothing wrong with being obsessive-compulsive when it comes to cleaning a healthcare facility. If you’re feeling doubtful about whether you’ve cleaned it right, wipe it again. Cleaning surfaces twice or thrice helps you thoroughly decontaminate them. So, purifying the patient’s room prevents infectious materials from growing and spreading. Try to awake your inner Monica when you’re cleaning the hospital!

6. Declutter the place

You must forbid visitors from bringing excessive gifts near the patient’s surroundings. Clutter may lead to contamination since it’s challenging to keep some of these objects out of the patient’s room for housekeepers. So, flowers are dangerous! You should remind visitors that they can endanger the patient’s well-being by bringing flowers that often carry germs. So, declutter patients’ rooms now.

7. Prevent infections

Housekeepers are responsible for restricting outbreaks that begin from hospitals. It’s estimated that 60% of all norovirus outbreaks in the USA happened in long-term caregiving facilities. That’s why it’s essential to utilize CDC-suggested and EPA-recommended products to eliminate  hospital acquired infections. Let’s give you an example. CDC proposes using sodium hypochlorite as the ideal chemical to regulate norovirus outbreaks. You can also limit the spread of contaminants by washing your hands constantly.

8. Use quality disinfectants

Cleaning products you can purchase from grocery stores aren’t strong enough to eliminate germs effectively. However, EPA-approved chemicals can annihilate these microorganisms, thereby keeping your hospital spotless and germ-free. You should also try eco-friendly or “green”disinfectants that are harmless to your patients. These non-toxic cleaning solutions can decontaminate surfaces without harming nature.

9. Become detail-oriented

You must become detail-oriented to decontaminate hospital rooms, hallways, and other places thoroughly. So, carefully consider the details of how you’re cleaning and what products you’re using to disinfect everything. For instance, you must mop the floor backward while forming an “S” to ensure that you’ve covered the maximum surface area. Move the furniture to clean every nook and cranny. Don’t forget to clean HVAC units to prevent airborne organisms and  hospital acquired infections from spreading everywhere.

10. Clean high-touch areas

Disinfecting high-touch areas shouldn’t be neglected since it constitutes one of the most important aspects of housekeeping procedures. These frequently-handled items and objects are more vulnerable to catching and spreading germs. For instance, faucets, doorknobs, light switches, and similar areas are touched repeatedly by numerous people visiting and working in a healthcare facility. So, you should disinfect these locations to ensure the safety of your patients. Hospital administrators should encourage proper cleansing of germ hot spots.

11. Start from clean areas

Some cleaning staff makes the mistake of starting decontamination from the dirtiest location. It may lead them to spread germs to places that are already clean. Therefore, we suggest beginning from clean areas and gradually move on to dirtier locations. Using this logic, you should clean healthy patients’ rooms first. Also, start cleaning the highest location first and the lower location by the end. These tactics can help you reduce the spread of pollutants inside the hospital and ensure people’s safety.

12. Throw your waste carefully

It’s essential to dispose of hospital waste properly to avoid this contamination from spreading outside. It’s estimated that merely 15% of healthcare waste contains hazardous materials. So, how do you throw away this medical waste? Use thick garbage bags that don’t tear easily and are waterproof as well. Try to double-up these bags to ensure they don’t leak. Don’t touch the stuff you put in a garbage bag. Also, ascertain that this bag isn’t overflowing. Last but not least, disinfect garbage cans frequently.

Conclusion

How do unclean hospitals contribute to declining healthcare quality in our medical facilities? Statistics suggest that 5-10 percent of patients contract at least one hospital acquired infections (HAI) while staying at the hospital. In addition, statistics from 2018 have indicated that some 1.7 million patients annually acquire these infections when they’re hospitalized. Unluckily, almost 100,000 of these patients die from HAIs too! That’s why hospital administrators must sanitize these facilities thoroughly today.

Now, what methods help administrative staff ensure the entire facilitys neat and clean? They should compel the cleaning workforce to disinfect rooms and floors properly to eliminate bacteria thriving on these surfaces. They must choose EPA-approved disinfectants that effectively remove bacteria. Housekeepers must also wear PPE and clean their hands after and before cleaning the patient’s room. The tactics mentioned above help cleaners successfully decontaminate the room after a patient has been discharged for another resident to occupy the space.