How to Avoid the Spread of Infection in Outpatient Facilities
It’s no secret that healthcare facilities have the potential to spread infections. With so many individuals walking in and out of your doors, it’s important to disinfect frequently. To reduce your outpatient facility’s risk of spreading dangerous infections and keep everyone safe, follow these steps from ServiceMaster Clean.
1. Adhere to Standard Infection Prevention and Control Precautions
To reduce the risk of infections spreading in outpatient facilities, the CDC has created a guide that includes the minimum expectations for safe care. At the very least, the CDC explains that healthcare facilities should enforce the following protocols:
Create and implement infection control policies. Administrators can use the CDC's checklist when determining the best course of action to effectively reduce the spread of infection in their own facilities.
Ensure that all essential personal protective equipment (PPE) is supplied to staff. This includes disposable gloves, masks and gowns. Employers should provide required PPE training annually and any time that new equipment or protocols are introduced.
Have at least one person on staff who is thoroughly trained in infection prevent and control procedures. If anything happens on a shift or other staff have questions, this employee should be one of the first people notified so they can remedy the issue or answer any questions. These employees should also be responsible for managing your facility’s infection control program.
Educate and train healthcare employees about infection prevention and control practices. Training may include recertification programs, participation in infection control courses organized by the state and other professional training curriculums. Training should be offered to all employees, including those who are contract workers or volunteers. After each training session, administrators should thoroughly document the event.
2. Monitor All HAIs
Each time either a patient or staff member suffers an HAI, the incident should be documented. Outpatient facility administrators should monitor each incident to discover ways to prevent the spread of infection in the future. Employees should be educated about the signs and symptoms of infection and advised to promptly inform the facility if they think an HAI is present.
3. Follow Best Practices for Infection Prevention and Control
Infection control in outpatient facilities can seem overwhelming, but there are plenty of guides and checklists available from reputable organizations like the CDC that help make the process go more smoothly. To start reducing the risk of infections spreading in your healthcare facility, follow these tips:
Maintain proper hand hygiene. Employees should thoroughly wash hands or apply hand sanitizer both before and after treating a patient, touching a potentially contaminated surface or coming into contact with a bodily fluid. Healthcare administrators should ensure that hand sanitizer stations are conveniently located throughout the facility.
Follow PPE procedures. Healthcare staff should wear the appropriate PPE for each task. Doing so can minimize direct contact with an infected patient, protecting them from acquiring or spreading an HAI.
Ensure proper environmental cleaning and sanitization procedures are followed. Standard procedures for routine cleaning should be provided to employees. In addition, staff should be fully trained on the correct ways to clean and disinfect specific areas, including how to clean up any spills that may contain harmful chemicals.
Train staff how to properly clean, sanitize, and disinfect high-touch areas as needed. This includes phones, computers, mobile workstations, laptops and other equipment after each use.
While these minimum expectations can help limit your risk of spreading infections at your outpatient facility, janitorial services from a professional company can provide a deeper clean. The healthcare cleaning services from ServiceMaster Clean follows best practices and procedures developed by the industry’s leading organizations to help with risk reduction, environment improvement and infection control and prevention. Backed with over 65 years of experience, our experts have the knowledge and tools necessary to help keep your healthcare facility’s environment safe.