If you have recently been to a supermarket looking to stock up on supplies for the potential threat of a Covid-19 pandemic you’ve likely been disappointed. Most stores have run out of standard precautions such as hand sanitizers, masks, gloves, wipes, and other similar items. But does the average person really know how to use those items in a way to avoid cross contamination? Probably to some degree. But even the proper donning and doffing is missed by the most seasoned nurses and healthcare staff. I am just happy I get to use the term doffing in a blog!
Personally, after running LTAC Hospitals and Nursing Homes for the better part of 15 years, I thought I understood what it meant to keep a clean facility; to avoid cross contamination etc. etc. I had been the one conducting the inservices to staff, so I’d better know! There was nothing worse than seeing a plan of correction stating “The Executive Director was witness to enter and leave the patient room without proper PPS” or something to that effect.
An interesting example I learned only after leaving the Leadership role is what a “Clean Bed” really was. I routinely helped coordinate communication between Admissions and Housekeeping. If we needed a room cleaned from a Discharge to accept a new Admit, I knew they could get it done in 20-30 mins depending on the staff. I knew they would start at the top, and work from the back of the room and towards the door. Empty garbage bags and wipe all the surfaces. The bed was sprayed with Quaternary cleaner, left to soak for a minute, then wiped clean.
THEN I joined the ProCare team and saw the Q-Tips and brushes in our cleaning area! I learned that they were used to clean inside the valves of air mattresses. I was informed that each baffle would be removed and sanitized. The cover cleaned, and every part of the mattress and pump cleaned deeply. I saw all the skin and other grime that would accumulate in just 1 patient stay. How many times did my housekeepers just wipe down the top of an air mattress and call it good? Countless. How many layers of skin had accumulated in there?
With the hyper vigilance associated with the Covid-19 pandemic infection control moves to the top of the priority list. Maintaining a process that reduces risk to your staff and your team is always important, but right now it’s critical. If you would like more information on how to maintain best practices in your facility call us. If you aren’t sure how your DME partner takes care of their equipment stop in and ask for a tour of their facility. Ask about their infection control program and how they can ensure that the last patient won’t bring unwanted bugs to the next patient. Not sure what else to ask? Call us. We’re here to help.