Infection Control Policy
In any healthcare-related organization, an infection control policy is necessary for the protection of staff, patients, visitors, and the general public. Having a well-established policy and ample training on protective measures can help to ensure the amount of harm that an infection can cause is mitigated.
There are many ways that infection control need to stop the spread of infections. Infections spread in the following ways:
- Infections can be transmitted through skin contact
- Blood or sweat droplets
- Airborne measures
- Infection can also be spread through contamination of water, food, or medical equipment.
As mentioned, education on the procedures regarding infection control is vital, but such a policy should encompass a few critical elements. Standard precautionary behaviors should be reinforced for everyone at the healthcare setting, no matter what their role. This includes awareness about the importance of handwashing and behaviors to prevent the spread of germs, such as sneezing into one's elbow instead of one's hands. Similar, for healthcare practitioners, protecting the hands with protective equipment such as gloves, should be second nature. Minimizing people's exposure to bodily fluids is vital to infection control. As the general public should never be in environments where this type of exposure can take place, providing protective equipment such as goggles and gowns to healthcare providers is an essential part of an infection control policy. Additionally, providing easily accessed, safe disposal sites for needles and sharps is essential.
If there is an outbreak of an infection, care should be taken to quarantine the affected individuals so as to limit further spread. This can be as simple as limiting visitors to a given area or as complex as incorporating biohazard material to prevent contamination. Finally, awareness of any breeches of infection control policy is key; if an infection does emerge, all pertinent individuals should be notified and advised on how to take appropriate precautions. This includes all necessary governmental and healthcare-related organizations. It is only through increased awareness and education that any infection control policy can be truly effective.