Hospital infection control is used in health care facilities to protect patients and workers from the spread of illness and infections. While patients are hospitalized, they are at a risk for nosocomial infection. This is not an infection the patient came in with, but one that was acquired during his hospital stay. Hospital infection control can help decrease the incidences of this type of infection.
Without good hospital infection control, several consequences can result. Patients who become sick with a nosocomial infection may have a longer hospital stay. Hospital-acquired infections can become life threatening. When staff become infected, they may miss work, which can leave the hospital short staffed and can affect patient care.
Developing polices for infection control is the first step in an efficient hospital infection control plan. Procedures should be developed for proper sterilization and cleaning of patient rooms and equipment. Effective hospital infection control also means screening patients for infectious diseases as they are admitted to the hospital. This allows staff to place patients in proper isolation rooms if needed. It also alerts staff to special precautions that should be taken when caring for an infected patient.
Personal protective equipment should be readily available to staff and visitors to prevent the spread of illness. Equipment including gloves and gowns should be worn when needed to prevent the spread of hospital infections. Another essential component of a hospital infection control plan is staff education. Employees of health care facilities should be educated on various types of infections and how they are transmitted.
Simple things can greatly reduce the spread of illness and help make hospital infection control successful. Hand washing after leaving a patient’s room or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer can reduce the spread of infections. Staff should also use proper technique and clean hands before patient contact to reduce the likelihood of spreading an infection among patients.
Staff should also be made aware of and offered immunizations. This can reduce their chances of developing various infections and passing them on patients. Shots to prevent flu, measles, and pertussis are vaccines health care workers can get to reduce the chance of infection.
The last needed component of hospital infection control is surveillance to determine if polices are being implemented. It also means determining which procedures and polices are working to reduce infection and which need to be changed. With a strong infection control plan, patient’s lives can be saved.