Every third week of October, healthcare professionals, consumers and organizations recognize International Infection Prevention Week. This annual event is designed to raise awareness about infection within the healthcare industry, along with how to reduce infections to improve safety for healthcare professionals and their patients. If you work in the health industry, here are a few effective methods you can employ to safeguard the health of your patients and fellow staff members as we observe International Infection Prevention Week.
Education is the Key to Prevention
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, infections are a major threat to patient and staff safety within healthcare facilities, yet they are often also preventable. Proper education about infection can frequently be the difference between facing a serious problem and preventing one. Use these tips to educate the people working within your facility on how to be aware of and actively work toward preventing infections:
- Prepare and distribute educational literature regarding the different types of infection risks particular to your facility, including steps staff can take to prevent them.
- Provide function-specific information for staff members that helps them understand the role they personally play in maintaining a clean, safe and healthy facility.
- Offer periodic training updates to be sure that everyone is current on the latest information about risks and prevention.
Breaking the Chain of Infection
The key to preventing an infection, large or small, is to break the chain before it spreads. Follow these essential tips to help stop infection in its tracks, and share this information with your physicians, cleaning staff and office personnel:
- Promote proper hand hygiene by posting signs in all restrooms, and use antimicrobial soap to help kill dangerous germs.
- Keep records of staff vaccinations and make sure that everyone is up-to-date on their shots.
- Properly dispose of all medical waste and used equipment in a safe, responsible manner.
- Perform periodic audits to ensure that everyone is following established protocols when it comes to infection-preventative procedures.
Keeping Clean = A Real Infection Fighter
Maintaining a clean, sanitary environment goes a long way toward staving off a wide variety of healthcare-related infections. Good practices in cleaning can assure the safety and comfort of patients and staff alike. Here are a few things to keep in mind when cleaning your facility:
- Disinfect high-touch surfaces like patient examination and operating tables, counters and rails frequently to avoid the spread of pathogens.
- Carefully follow manufacturers' specifications when cleaning medical equipment to ensure they're properly and fully disinfected.
- When in doubt, report any potentially hazardous spills or exposure to dangerous materials to the proper authorities, and always stay in compliance with regulatory guidelines.
- Even with the use of a third-party healthcare cleaning service, it's important to be actively involved in monitoring your facility's cleanliness and cleaning procedures. A hands-on approach gives you the confidence of knowing your facility is safe for patients.
At ServiceMaster Clean®, we know how important it is to prevent infections within healthcare facilities. That's why our commercial environmental services for healthcare have been designed with both patient and employee safety in mind. Contact us to discover how our industry-leading processes and dedicated professionals can meet your healthcare cleaning needs and deliver a site that is healthy, comfortable and safe for everyone.