Healthcare-associated infections, or HAIs, are complications of healthcare and linked with high morbidity and mortality. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 in 25 U.S. hospital patients is diagnosed with at least one infection related to hospital care each year. And with fast-moving bacterial infections like MRSA reaching near-epidemic levels in healthcare environments, controlling the spread of pathogens has never been more immediate.
The threat of HAIs is considered a “Winnable Battle” which the CDC defines as “public health priorities where CDC and its partners can make significant progress ending epidemics and eliminating diseases in a relatively short time period.” With the right procedures and systems in place, healthcare facilities can work to eliminate the dangerous spread of pathogens.
Hand hygiene should be top of mind
Although most healthcare facilities have strict requirements for their employees to wash their hands regularly, studies have shown staff adhere to those requirements about 40 percent of the time. Properly washing your hands – whether you’re a healthcare worker, visitor, or patient yourself – is one of the easiest and most effective ways of controlling the spread of infection.
Employ proper facility cleaning techniques
Using the proper materials and techniques for cleaning healthcare facilities is key to controlling the spread of pathogens. Microfiber, for example, is a strong, lint-free, ultra-fine fiber that is more effective than traditional cotton fiber and removes bacteria, even without chemicals. It is the one of the most effective products for cleaning and is widely accepted for use in healthcare facilities.
Make sure healthcare staff aren’t adding to the risk
Your healthcare staff interacts with patients hundreds if not thousands of times a day. Being only a glancing touch away, the risk of infection spreading from a lab coat or a nurse’s uniform to a patient is much greater than you think. Superbugs such as MRSA and CRE can live on lab coats for up to 56 days, and studies have shown pathogens were found on 20% of nurses’ uniforms at the end of their shift. It is vital for infection control that lab coats and scrubs are laundered properly and laundered often.