The spread of infection in the healthcare

Table of Contents

Poor practices can lead to the spread of infection in the healthcare setting such as, healthcare professionals not washing their hands before and after patient contact, washing hands religiously are vital to break the chain of cross contamination this must be done to stop germs from transferring from patient to staff then to another patient. Soiled linen being put onto the floor and not being put into the correct bin liners straight away are another risk of infection spreading.

Not having sanitized work spaces when preparing patient meals and dirty equipment which is not cleaned in between patients can cause microorganisms to grow and multiply a lot faster to if you regularly clean the equipment in use such as a blood pressure machine.

As senior healthcare professionals we must have a good understanding of poor practices and how to recognize them, as you can challenge or intervene at an early stage if someone is not following the policies and procedures that align with the agreed ways of working regarding infection control. You can do this by informing the individual at the time how, for example, their poor hand hygiene, before and/or after patient contact could lead to the spread of infection and by you raising your concerns this will break the chain of cross contamination as well as making the individual aware that their poor hygiene is noticeable to staff and patients.

Furthermore, in your professional practice you are an advocate for the prevention of infection because you have been trained to identify the correct bins for clinical waste and normal domestic waste and making sure these are not overflowing by changing and disposing of regularly. Making sure all work surfaces are cleaned regularly and that soiled linen are disposed of straight away and in the correct bags. You are also responsible for making sure your uniform is washed at 60 Degrees Celsius straight as you get home from your shift to remove the microorganisms so that you are coming to work with clean clothes and not spreading the germs on your clothes to other people. If you do happen to wash your uniform at a lower temperature you are not washing all the microorganisms away.

“For primary healthcare nurses who wash their uniforms at home, Riley et al (1) recommend washing uniforms separately after every shift and within 24 hours of the shift starting with detergent at a minimum temperature of 60˚c.”Riley K, Laird K, Williams J (2015) Washing uniforms at home: adherence to hospital policy. Nursing Standard. 29, 25, 37−43.