November 06, 2015

4 Tips for Hospitals on Disease Prevention

Authored by: Gail Fraine, director of infection prevention at Ascension Health   Saint Thomas Midtown in Nashville, Tenn.

I recently shared with the Association for Healthcare Environment (AHE) how comprehensive disease prevention activities are at my facility. We view disease prevention as one of the most important focal areas for risk mitigation and hospital safety efforts. Disease and infection prevention requires pervasive staff education, cross-team collaboration and constant communication. I offer four tips for successful prevention:

  1. Conduct ATP testing: Environmental services teams should work closely with infection prevention. The teams should consider performing ATP tests on all positive C.difficile discharge patient rooms and other random samplings. Rooms that are positive should then be re-cleaned and retested.
  2. Collaborate for environment-of-care rounds: Both infection prevention and environmental services teams and other members of the healthcare team, should conduct environment-of- care rounds to build consensus, educate and immediately tend to issues.
  3. Promote hygiene and proper decontamination: Use of third-party vendors to manage waste containers will keep staff safe and prevent disease transmission. Hand hygiene, antibiotic stewardship and early recognition of patients with C.difficile will assist in preventing and isolating transmission at your hospital.
  4. Use a vendor with a proactive sharps container exchange: The proactive exchange of reusable sharps containers allows hospitals to minimize possible infection risks and staff injury. We use the Sharps Management Service with reusable sharps containers and a proactive service. A service specialist removes the sharps containers before they become full, meaning limited staff intervention or risk for exposure. The containers are then professionally disinfected for optimal safety conditions. This approach improves safety across the hospital network. In fact, my facility changed to a sharps management service and saw a 10 percent decrease in needle sticks.

Disease prevention activities must include input from multiple teams, rely on training and leverage the right external partners to proactively manage risk. These takeaways could help you continually refine or even revamp your approach to disease prevention and infection transmission. Learn more about sharps service for hospitals

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