Must-Haves for Infection Control
Be sure to have these must-haves handy for optimal infection control.
Infection control programs help identify and reduce risks of infections in patients and healthcare workers, but any good plan requires a list of must-haves to make the plan functional to prevent lapses, mistakes, and health risks. Healthcare facilities and other institutions that deal with hazardous or medical waste must make it a top priority to prevent the spread of infection.
To keep patients safe, facilities should have documented proof that they have printed infection control guidelines, and that the infection control program is overseen by a trained professional.
In addition to guidelines, facilities should never be without the following:
Proper Containers With Labels In Restricted Areas
This includes red bags, sharps containers, and specialty containment for pharmaceuticals. These receptacles should not be kept near the regular trash to avoid putting biohazardous waste where it doesn’t belong. Keep marked containers in an area that is only accessible to trained staff and physicians to avoid the spread of infection.
OSHA offers standards and regulations that are very strict and specific for biohazard clean up in the workplace. Employers must ensure that their facility has the correct cleaning supplies to deal with these hazards and must inform employees of where hazardous materials are located and stored.
This includes, but is not limited to germicidal cloths, personal protection kits, bloodborne pathogens response kits, solidifiers for medical waste, medical-grade disinfectants, and chemical spill kits.
Clear and Concise Signage and Information
This includes caution signs for biohazardous waste, hazard communication posters, and safety signs for authorized personnel. Clearly indicating and affixing labels and signs to waste containers and restricted areas protects people from exposure to disease-causing organisms and toxic chemicals.
Easy Access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Workers are more susceptible to contamination because of their increased exposure to blood, bodily fluids, respiratory secretions, and direct contact with other infectious materials. Staff should have easy access to PPE, such as gloves, eyewear, masks, and aprons and gowns.
A Purpose Statement
A purpose statement helps specify an infection control plan based on guidelines from leading authorities in infection control like the CDC, OSHA, and the FDA.
Infection control isn’t just about preventing the spread of illness between patients and staff; it’s also a fundamental step in stopping the wider community from being affected by potential outbreaks.
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