Good Hygiene in Hospitals: A Crucial Defence Against Infections
Posted on September 21, 2023
Hospitals are places of healing and recovery, but they can also be breeding grounds for infections if good hygiene practices are not rigorously maintained. In recent years, the healthcare industry has recognised the importance of enhancing cleaning and disinfection protocols to protect patients, visitors, and staff from Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs).
This article explores the critical components of hospital hygiene, including cleaning and disinfection, the use of hospital disinfectants, and proper hand-washing steps in hospitals.
Ensuring a clean environment within hospitals extends beyond patient rooms and operating theatres. Public areas, including waiting rooms, restrooms, cafeterias, and chapels, must also adhere to high cleanliness standards. Studies have demonstrated a connection between poor environmental hygiene and the transmission of HAIs, prompting increased monitoring and cleaning efforts.
Infections like MRSA have been detected on various surfaces, such as computer keyboards, soap dispensers, and door handles. Thorough cleaning practices, including the use of hypochlorite as a cleaning agent, are effective in reducing infections and preventing cross-contamination. To achieve this, hospitals have implemented the following standards:
- The hospital environment must be free from soilage and dust.
- Enhanced cleaning protocols should be enacted during infection outbreaks.
- Detergent combined with hypochlorite is recommended during infection outbreaks.
- Decontamination of shared equipment
Even non-invasive equipment like ultrasound probes and stethoscopes can harbour pathogens on their surfaces. Therefore, all shared equipment must be decontaminated after use, with soap and water as the minimum requirement. During infection outbreaks, using hypochlorite and detergent becomes imperative to prevent the spread of infectious agents.
Hand Hygiene Practices
Inadequate hand hygiene practices contribute significantly to pathogen spread among both hospital staff and visitors. Hand contamination is particularly high when handling bodily fluids, during respiratory care, and direct patient contact. Even when gloves are worn, they do not provide complete protection, emphasising the need for frequent handwashing. The introduction of alcohol hand gels for visitors has also proven effective in reducing infections among patients.
A strict hand decontamination regimen includes washing hands before direct patient contact, dressing changes, or the handling of invasive devices. Specific guidelines for handwashing, including the removal of jewellery and false nails and an adequate duration for the process, have been established to ensure thorough hand cleaning.
Prior to commencing any medical procedure, healthcare personnel must conduct a comprehensive assessment of the potential exposure to blood, bodily fluids, compromised skin, or mucous membranes.
To mitigate associated risks effectively, they must wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) that aligns with the specific requirements of the procedure.
Additionally, when utilising reusable PPE such as goggles, face shields, or visors, strict adherence to the manufacturer’s instructions for decontamination after each use is imperative.
In the case of gloves, they should be worn whenever there is an anticipation or likelihood of exposure to blood, bodily fluids, compromised skin, or mucous membranes. Following any patient interaction or the completion of a procedure or task, gloves should be promptly changed, and rigorous hand hygiene practices must be observed to maintain a safe and hygienic healthcare environment.
Hygiene in Sterile Areas
Hospitals maintain a stringent level of hygiene by establishing and preserving sterility in critical areas. This involves a combination of rigorous protocols, specialised equipment, and the dedicated efforts of healthcare professionals.
Sterile environments are typically maintained in operating rooms, delivery suites, and intensive care units, where the risk of infection is particularly high. These areas undergo regular and thorough cleaning, employing disinfectants and sterilisation methods to eradicate harmful pathogens.
Staff within these areas adhere to strict hand hygiene practices and wear sterile gowns and gloves to prevent contamination. Furthermore, ventilation systems and air filtration play a vital role in controlling airborne particles, and access to these areas is often limited to authorised personnel, minimising the introduction of potential contaminants.
The meticulous upkeep of sterility in these crucial spaces is essential for safeguarding the health and well-being of patients and minimising the risk of healthcare-associated infections.
Hospitals have stringent waste management protocols in place to ensure the safe and responsible disposal of waste. Proper waste management is crucial to safeguard public health and protect the environment. Hospitals categorise waste into various types, including clinical, hazardous, and non-hazardous waste. Each type of waste is segregated at the point of generation to prevent cross-contamination.
In conclusion, hospitals are continuously adapting and strengthening their hygiene practices to combat Hospital Acquired Infections. By focusing on cleaning and disinfection, using hospital disinfectants, and careful waste management, healthcare facilities are working diligently to maintain good hygiene and protect the health and well-being of patients and staff alike. Good hygiene is not just a tradition; it is an ongoing commitment to safeguard public health within the hospital environment.
Proper training and education empower healthcare workers with the knowledge needed to prevent the transmission of infections. They learn about the significance of cleanliness, hand hygiene, and disinfection protocols, which are fundamental in reducing the risk of HAIs. Some patients are more susceptible to infections due to weakened immune systems or underlying health conditions. Educated healthcare workers take extra precautions when caring for these patients to protect them from potential infections.
In the realm of hospital hygiene, F2 Medical Supplies Ltd stands as a trusted partner, offering a comprehensive range of essential hygiene solutions. Our extensive product catalogue encompasses items such as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), high-quality gloves, and effective cleaning solutions, among others.
We understand the critical importance of maintaining a clean healthcare environment, and our commitment to delivering top-tier hygiene products is unwavering. Hospitals and healthcare facilities can rely on F2 Medical Supplies Ltd to provide them with the tools and resources they need to uphold the highest standards of hygiene and infection control.