When it comes to infection prevention in long-term care facilities, the discussion usually focuses on the residents. The last thing any facility wants is an outbreak of illness. What about infection prevention for the nursing staff, though? They are exposed to many of the same germs and are often exposed to blood and other bodily fluids on a regular basis. It’s important to ensure that nursing staff follow proper safety procedures and have access to the tools they need to stay safe.
A study published in the American Journal of Infection Control revealed that 80% of ambulatory care nurses do not adhere to standard precautions for infection prevention. The research focused on 9 standard precautions and asked 116 ambulatory care nurses to self-report their adherence to these precautions. The precautions included practices such as washing hands after removing gloves, avoiding recapping needles, and wearing a face-mask when being exposed to air-transmitted pathogens.
While the study focused on ambulatory care nursing, the same precautionary measures should be considered by all nursing staff, regardless of specialty. Even if a resident doesn’t have an obvious infection or illness, it is important to follow all standard safety procedures in order to avoid the transmission of undiagnosed pathogens. Standard precautions include hand hygiene, safe injection practices, cough etiquette, and use of gloves, gowns, and masks.
Another point of safety is the proper disposal of bodily fluids as it may harbor unknown pathogens. Care must be taken by nursing staff to avoid any splash-back or spattering as it is being emptied into the service sink. The Apollo Service Sink Splash Guard, The Shield™ Splash Guard, was designed to be a barrier between infectious waste and nursing staff and be part of the PPE system. It installs easily to any service sink and can be cleaned and disinfected in place.
The health and safety of your nursing staff is just as important as your residents. When you are evaluating the safety practices and procedures of your staff, consider investing in The Shield™ Splash Guard as an additional tool to provide an extra level of protection. By helping your staff stay healthy, you also keep your residents healthy.