Infection control underpins the safe, effective, and efficient operation of any hospital.
There are other pillars too, of course - care coordination, care quality and scientific innovation are all integral to improving outcomes for patients. However, without reliable infection control, the safety of patients can never be guaranteed.
No matter how advanced your technology is, or how kind and compassionate your clinical teams are, poor infection control will still result in outbreaks of preventable and even deadly infections.
With this knowledge firmly in mind, hospital staff are always keen to prioritise infection control procedures. After all, these procedures don’t just keep patients safe – they prevent infections from spreading to healthcare workers and their families, too.
However, despite the best efforts of clinicians, there are a number of barriers to infection control. These barriers make infection control procedures a greater challenge to fulfil and, if they are not remedied, can lead to increased risk for patients and clinicians alike.
1.Time Spent Training New Staff
Turnover of employees in the healthcare sector is notoriously high. Burnout is often labelled the biggest culprit, but in reality, there are a number of factors – including staff moving between wards.
Even fully trained nurses will need to learn the ropes in a new environment and, if bank staff are being relied on to fill staff shortages, time spent training can feel like a never-ending treadmill.
Training new staff effects the practice of infection control in two ways.
Firstly, if you are the clinician providing the training, you will be stretched for time when returning to your own care tasks. Thorough infection control takes time, and you may find yourself hard-pressed to give it the time it deserves.
Secondly, all new staff take time to get up to speed and, while on this road to proficiency, mistakes or omissions to infection control procedures are easy to make.
Reducing staff turnover in healthcare is a global issue. Your hospital is unlikely to be able to tackle this issue alone. However, making infection control procedures easier to learn and fulfil will help take some of the pain out of the staff training process.
Automated infection control machinery, such as air purification systems, are extremely helpful. They can reduce the risk of infection without any input from your staff, creating excellent results without the need for individual training.
Completely automated and chemical free, air purifiers such as the UVMATIC will draw in polluted air and treat it, using eco-friendly UV light and photocatalytic oxidation.
Proven to destroy viruses such as influenza, as well as E. coli, salmonella and similar bacteria, air purifiers are highly effective in reducing the risk of infection. Better yet, there is no manual input required from your clinicians whatsoever, thus reducing training requirements.
The healthcare sector benefits from many skilled and passionate staff from overseas. However, becoming fluent in your hospital’s native tongue may take some time.
When language competency is not up to scratch, clinicians from other countries may struggle to learn how to use infection control solutions effectively, particularly if the operational instructions require a lot of reading in a language that they aren’t yet confident in.
When operational instructions are not understood, infection control technology may not be used correctly – with ineffective and ultimately dangerous results.
To increase efficiency of infection control procedures and help non-native speakers, solutions with visual or audio guidance is essential.
The Pulpmatic Eco+ macerator, for example, has a graphical user interface to provide animated operational instructions, cycle status information and fault resolution guidance. This means that all users of the machine can quickly benefit from safe disposal of used pulp and human waste, without risk of user error.
This results in a safer environment for everyone, without language barriers posing a risk to critical infection control procedures.
3.Heavy Clinical Workloads
Of course, one of the biggest barriers to infection control in hospitals is the sheer amount of work that clinicians are expected to fulfil.
Carrying out infection control procedures are critical, but they’re far from the only task. Hospital clinicians have a huge list of responsibilities, ranging from hands-on bedside care to paperwork. The busier the ward, the more pressure the clinicians will be under – and if there is a shortage of staff, the strain will increase all the more.
Infection control, when actioned effectively, is a cycle.
Efficient infection control procedures will save time in the immediate term because they are quick and easy to action. This efficiency will then save time in the long term, because outbreaks of infection have been prevented – thus easing the number of dangerously unwell and highly dependent patients on each ward.
To keep a positive cycle of infection control, you need to make every infection control procedure count. Every solution, from macerators to cleaning products, must work hard - so that your clinicians don’t need to shoulder a bigger burden.
The Hygenex® Recoat® Antimicrobial Coating System is the perfect example.
Antimicrobial surfaces protect users by creating a hygienic environment which prevents the spread of infection.
By applying the Hygenex Recoat Antimicrobial Coating System to hard surfaces, bacteria and viruses are eliminated for up to six months – providing true value for every minute spent applying the system.
The Hygenex Recoat Antimicrobial Coating System can be used to protect touch points including door handles, light switches, and screens, dramatically reducing the risk of cross-infection. Better yet, presence of the antimicrobial coating can be identified with a UV light, so your clinicians can remain confident that the protection is still active.
Infection control solutions need to make the work of your clinicians easier, by breaking down the barriers that they experience every day. They must be simple to use, save time and be unwaveringly effective.
DDC Dolphin have led the infection control and sluice room machinery market for over 30 years, with innovative solutions which improve efficiency and save lives.
Ready to find out how we can help you to break your barriers to infection control?