Tips for Ensuring Everyone Follows Infection Control Procedures
Ensuring patient safety is the number-one priority of healthcare facility management that must be kept in mind at all times. With 100,000 hospital deaths each year from hospital-acquired infections, or HAIs, reducing the spread of disease and preventable patient illness and death is a constant battle.
As a part of infection control and disease prevention in healthcare facilities, you understand that having guidelines in place for staff and employees is an important factor in making sure your facility is as safe as possible for patients. But how can you ensure that everyone is following the procedures you put in place? Here are some tips for having all workers follow infection control procedures.
Instate Infection Control Guidelines
You should already have general procedures in place for infection control, but having specific guidelines for staff members can go a long way in helping you keep track of everyone’s habits for infection control. Do all employees know what their role in infection control is? Do you follow up to make sure they follow guidelines on a daily basis?
If you don’t have clear infection control procedures, you need to put them in place immediately. There are plenty of quick tips for small things you can do that can have a large impact on patient safety, from limiting antimicrobial cleaners to monitoring external contaminants.
Make Sure Procedures are Communicated Clearly
It’s important that everyone understands exactly what their role is in keeping up with infection control procedures. Clearly communicating what the expectations are for every member of staff, from janitors to surgeons, will help ensure everyone is on the same page. Having regular staff trainings can also help in this effort.
A common mistake facilities managers or infection control directors make is overcomplicating guidelines. Procedures, processes, and goals should be very clear, both when directed towards staff and employees, and with other guests in a hospital. Posted guidelines for visitors can help them understand their role. Things like handwashing signs and marking off restricted areas can help keep the spread of disease to a minimum with hospital attendees who aren’t on staff.
You shouldn’t treat your infection control guidelines like secret information — it should be readily available for everyone. Part of your job is to ensure that guidelines and infection control procedures are easily accessible for all members of staff, and are given to everyone who works in a healthcare facility.
In addition, you need to understand that running a healthcare facility involves more than ensuring that procedures are followed in the operating room. Infection control affects everyone. The reputation of your hospital depends on perceptions of cleanliness that are made with cleaning staff and attentive guidelines that ensure everyone who works at the healthcare facility understands the value of disinfection and sterilization.
Keep Procedures Updated
Another part of your responsibilities is to ensure that procedures are kept updated and in accordance with recent infection control guidelines created by the World Health Organization or Center for Disease Control and Prevention. If you staff is following outdated procedures, you risk infection and the spread of disease in your hospital.
When procedures are updated, you should send out a memo or arrange a meeting to let your staff know that there has been a change. While it is your staff’s job to follow the guidelines you put out, it is your job to make sure they have the right policies.
Send out Frequent Reminders
While sending out a memo when something changes is a good habit to get into, you should also remind staff frequently about current procedures already in place. This will help everyone understand the value of infection control guidelines and remind employees that these are important and must be followed.
Don’t be overbearing on your staff, but there is great value in keeping infection control guidelines on the forefront of everyone’s mind. Having regular reminders and meetings with staff can breathe new life into infection control training and implementation.
Lead by Example
The best way to prove that you are dedicated to patient safety and believe in the importance of infection control guidelines is to lead by example. Follow your procedures exactly, and let your staff notice that you are doing your best to maintain protocols.
Having infection control guidelines helps keep everyone in a healthcare facility safe — especially the patients. All members of staff have a job to complete while following these guidelines, so it should be your top priority as a healthcare facility manager to ensure that they follow and understand the processes and procedures you put in place.
Having the right tools for the job can help you keep your infection control processes as effective as possible. HEPACART’s infection control tools can make a difference in your infection control efforts, and help you more easily achieve your patient safety and infection control goals.