What is Infection Control?
Infection control is a term commonly used throughout the healthcare sector, but often also in other sectors and industries. When used in relation to the healthcare sector, specifically in settings such as care homes and hospitals, infection control refers to the practice of preventing the spread of healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs).
Infection Control is a fundamental part of the care which patients or care home residents should receive while in a healthcare setting. Stringent infection control procedures should be practiced by all staff in order to protect those in their care, but also to safeguard the medical staff themselves and any visitors to the facility from HCAIs.
While many HCAIs are preventable, there are increasing numbers of infections which are caused by drug-resistant bacteria and pathogens. In these instances, prevention is crucial – and this is where infection control procedures are key.
These procedures should be understood and carried out by all personnel who are performing tasks with or around patients. Some of the procedures are simple but very effective, while others will rely on protective garments and disinfectants or specialist human waste disposal equipment.
Infection Control Procedures
Since the bacteria and pathogens which cause HCAIs are impossible to see with the human eye, ensuring that all staff are fully educated in infection control practices is absolutely essential. These procedures should be followed both by staff who have a direct role in caring for patients and also by staff who provide supporting roles such as cleaners and kitchen workers.
Infection control procedures commonly focus on the following areas:
- Hand hygiene
- Environmental cleanliness
- Sterilisation and disinfecting of equipment and instruments
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Safe disposal of sharps
- Waste management
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Depending on the type of care setting there may be further specific infection control procedures; but hand hygiene is the single most important measure which can be practised across the board to prevent the spread of HCAIs.
Using hand sanitisers and practising good hand washing techniques will considerably reduce the risks of spreading HCAIs.
For more information view our infographic on the 5 moments for hand hygiene.
Environmental cleaning is also vital – this includes all areas directly around the patients’ point of care as well as communal areas such as waiting rooms and corridors.
Choosing the right disinfectant for the task at hand will depend on many factors including the type of care being delivered and the healthcare setting itself.
Efficient waste management is also a key component of infection control. Waste which is not disposed of in the correct manner or without following infection control guidelines could present a serious risk.
As well as having the correct equipment to dispose of waste quickly and safely staff must also be trained in how to use sluice room machinery. Measures must be in place to ensure that all staff are using the machinery with the best practice methods they have learnt during training.
Infection Control is something which all medical staff should be trained in, for the specific care setting in which they are working.
It is vital to protecting patients and staff alike and the importance of following the guidelines must never be overlooked. Lives could be at stake if the guidelines aren’t followed.
DDC Dolphin’s mission is to redefine infection control by helping care homes and hospitals make the right choices for their human waste management and sluice room requirements.
Experienced DDC Dolphin engineers not only service and repair all makes of sluice room machinery but can also provide training to your staff in how best to use our products.
Get in touch to find out how we can help with your infection control strategy