Many people visit hospital with the hope of getting better and cured from their sickness, but what if a visit to the hospital turns out to be disastrous for an individual. Nowadays, hospital has become a breeding place for infections, with many sick people entering and leaving the hospital. While everyone are aware about the risk of infection spreading to everyone in a closed environment, not many have taken the necessary measures to control the spread of infection.
“World Health Organisation” defines an infection procured through stay at hospitals as Nosocomial infection - “An infection procured in a hospital by a patient who was admitted for another reason other than that procured infection. An infection occurring in a patient staying at a hospital or any other health-care facility in whom, there was no traces of infection present or incubating at the admission time. This includes infections obtained in the hospital but which appears subsequent discharge”. Few infections which are commonly acquired during a stay at hospital are Urinary tract, bloodstream and lung wound infections.
All healthcare organizations have infection control policies and procedures, and take every protection to evade infections. However, infection risk can never be completely eradicated and few people have a higher risk of procuring an infection than others. Infection control can be minimized in hospitals through adoption of certain measures which needs to be implemented on a continuous basis.
Few of these measures are as follows:
Some of the areas and aspects which necessitates a gap analysis are as follows:
The hospital’s facility should be designed in such a way that there is at least a 70 feet space between the patients’ beds in the general ward and a 100 feet space in the ICU’s, as beds within a close proximity are more prone to infection spread. Placement of hand sanitizers and wash areas at every corner of the hospital is a must. Whenever a patient is known or suspected to harbor transmissible microorganisms, they should be placed in a single room with hand washing and toilet facilities. Special attention needs to be paid while designing operation theatre, there should be separation from general traffic and air movement of hospital and easy movement should be made from one clean area to another .
Visitors who enter the intensive care unit and critical care unit should be clothed with protective aprons, face masks and shoe masks. Hospitals should also ensure these protective garments meet the quality standards.
Hand washing is the most important intervention before and after patient conduct. Every hospital staff is required to act responsible and wash hands after every patient encounter. One of the most common techniques used at Hospitals in west is vigorous rubbing of hands during washing for 10 – 15 seconds after every patient encounter. Paper hand towel dispenser should be conveniently placed by all wash- basins and use of paper towel rolls should be discouraged as they will be difficult to tear off without contaminating the other papers in the roll.
The hospital should have proper equipments to facilitate disposal of needles in a hygienic manner. Proper care and stringent policies should be placed in the hospital regarding disposal of needles as repeated usage of needles can lead to disastrous effects. Care should be taken while disposing contaminated liquid such as patient’s wash water, it should not be emptied down clinical hand wash basins in ward areas.
Adoption of small but important measures like this will make a great impact for minimizing infection control at hospitals. Also, information posters regarding safety and hygiene measures can be put up at numerous places in the hospital to inform and guide the public as well as the hospital staff to take all the necessary measures. Hence, through routine and continuous adoption of precautionary measures, infection control can be minimized largely at hospitals.
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