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Friday, December 18, 2009

How to stop nosocomial diseases?

Over the years there have been various efforts to reduce the risk of nosocomial infections, or infections that occur during a hospital admission.  

We pick our noses, blow our noses, sneeze snot, spit when we talk,  reach our hands in our pockets and touch our dirty stethoscopes and beepers.  Plus there are many patients and visitors who carry a plethora of germs to share.  

Here are some common methods of preventing the spread of germs:

  • Use hand sanitizer often
  • Wash hands often
  • Wear gloves often, and then wash hands too
  • Gown, glove and wear a mask to prevent droplets from getting on you if patient is suspected of having the flu or MRSA. These bugs are not airbourne, so you don't need an airtight mask (I say this despite the CDC recommendations, but they have to err on the side of caution). 
  • wear a mask if a patient is coughing (common sense) 
  • wear a mask during all breathing treatments (nebs produce droplets) 
  • wear a gown in a patient's room (droplets may land on you and live up to 45 minutes) 
  • use hand sanitizer after touching anything in a patients room 
  • use hand sanitizer before and after touching your stethescope 
  • use hand sanitizer before and after touching your beeper 
  • use hand sanitizer upon entering a room 
  • use hand sanitizer upon leaving a room 
  • wash your hands with soap and water after you are done with your rounds 
  • wash your hands with soap and water after leaving an isolation room 
  • wash your hands after every time you take off your glovesI don't think we purposely share germs, but there probably are some RTs who don't wash their hands and use proper hygiene and therefore inadvertently spread germs and cause nosocomial diseases. Likewise, we RTs are taking care of patients all over the hospital, and therefore we come in contact with an array of patients with an array of diseases. The best recommendation for preventing nosocomial diseases is hand washing.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post.

I'm a veterinarian but I've dealt with respiratory disease outbreaks in stables. I am very careful to bring only what I need into the barn and disinfect the stethoscope, cell phone, boots, etc. when I leave. I no longer wear a watch on my wrist (it's clipped to my belt, so I don't have to touch it). I keep hand gel in my car and use it liberally.

One of the most, well, STUPID clients I've ever dealt with exposed an entire barn-ful of horses, resulting in two infected horses and a group of very angry horse owners because they were quarantined for a month. This owner could not grasp the concept of nose-to-nose contact, never mind the importance of disinfecting potential fomites. Inapparent shedding by carriers? Not one of her concerns. She was a nightmare.

She was also a nurse, working in a rehab facility.

Heidi said...

I always wear gloves regardless of the type of isolation or if in general population and I'm constantly changing them. When I leave leave the room I use hand sanitizer and precede to the nearest sink to soap up and wash my hands (because I just don't trust the sanitizer). I also always wear a mask with just about every patient I see.

When I enter an isolation room I have the unit dose and my phone in hand and place to the side. I grab bleach wipes on the way out and wipe off all the things I used while in the room.

It's just common sense. Plus I need to work, so I definitely don't want what they have.

wet wipes said...

Using hand sanitizers is a very important aspect of hand cleaning and general health and hygiene.