Infection Prevention & Control – Our Responsibility.
23 March 2020
Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) is a practice synonymous with the healthcare industry. Healthcare facilities create many opportunities for microorganisms to spread between patients, visitors and healthcare workers. Especially with the growth in increasingly complex and invasive procedures being carried out. These infections are known as healthcare-associated infections (HAI’s). But Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been a game-changer.
It is now all of our responsibility to embrace infection prevention and control within the workplace, and due to present circumstances, outside it.
What is infection prevention and control?
Infection prevention and control is a discipline that aims to prevent or control the spread of infections in healthcare facilities and the community. Infection prevention and control is a universal discipline with relevance to all aspects of healthcare. Given that we are facing a pandemic, Infection prevention and control is relevant to all workplaces and should be seen as our duty. A fundamental requirement of effective infection prevention and control and antimicrobial stewardship practices is an educated workforce.
Infections are caused by microbes such as bacteria, fungi or viruses entering the body. They can be minor and stay in one area, like a boil, or they can spread throughout the body, like flu. Often, infections are easily dealt with, but sometimes they can cause serious problems
Why is it so important?
Infection prevention and control occupies a unique position in the field of patient safety and quality universal health coverage since it is relevant to health workers and patients at every single health-care encounter. The aim of Infection prevention and control is to reduce the risk of infection for both service users and staff. Following recommended guidelines reduces the spread of infections, thus saving lives.
What should be covered?
Comprehensive infection prevention and control training should aim to provide guidance on at least, but not limited to, the following:
- An understanding of what the area of infection control means and its importance for every employee.
- Having a better understanding of the basic principles of infection control and being able to apply standard precautions in relation to infection control.
- An awareness of the importance of infection prevention and control in providing a safe environment for clients.
- An understanding of the chain of infection.
- An understanding of their own role in the prevention of the spread of infection.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) and IPC
Coronavirus (COVID-19) has brought about specific challenges for infection prevention and control within the workplace and on a personal level.The transmission of COVID-19 occurs mainly through respiratory droplets generated by coughing and sneezing, and through contact with contaminated surfaces. The predominant modes of transmission are assumed to be droplet and contact.
How can I personally protect myself and others from Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
Following guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO), the HSE sets out advice to protect yourself and others from coronavirus (COVID-19). This can be set out as follows:
- Wash your hands properly and often.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze.
- Put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Avoid close contact with people – keep a distance of 2 metres (6.5 feet) between you and others.
- Avoid crowded places, especially indoors.
- Follow the travel advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs
- Stay at home if you are sick to help stop the spread of whatever infection you may have.
- Touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
- Share objects that touch your mouth – for example, bottles, cups.
- Shake hands.
At Myelearnsafety, Our online Infection Prevention and Control course teaches you how to: understand how infection spreads, understand the need for protection of vulnerable groups,
be able to break the chain of infection, understand the use of PPE and understand the requirement for social isolation.