5 easy ways to protect your patients from superbugs
Wednesday, August 07, 2019
Antibiotic-resistant infections create massive challenges for hospitals. There’s no doubt you strive to practice scrupulous infection control procedures at your facility — but did you know that sometimes the easiest fixes may be among the most effective ways to protect your patients?
Research backs this up — implement these tips immediately to potentially cut your hospital's infection numbers:
Limit a specific type of take-home antibiotic prescriptions.
Fluoroquinolones are a strong antibiotic that can potentially increase a patient's risk of superbug infection — in or out of the hospital. A study earlier this year from the University of Michigan
found that even though many hospitals are actively trying to limit the use of this kind of drug during a patient's stay, doctors often send their patients home with them anyway, defeating the purpose.
Get on board with your physicians to make sure they avoid doing this whenever possible, either by prescribing the same drugs to their patients to take after discharge, or by finding alternative meds whenever possible.
Make it simpler for patients to wash their hands.
A second University of Michigan study found that out of 399 patients surveyed, 14% had superbug bacteria on their hands early in a hospital stay, from touching room items like their privacy curtains or their nurse call button.
Ask your nurses to remind patients to wash their hands after touching these items before they eat and providing bedside hand sanitizer.
Use sink guards.
Research from the Association for Professionals in Infection Control found that water splashing out of a sink can be a surprising way that biofilm, which often contaminates the insides of hospital faucets, can spread infection.
A simple sink guard, which limits splash, can drastically cut down on the spread of these germs. Install them in all patient rooms, staff sink areas and public restrooms in your facility.
Push hand hygiene awareness in new ways.
A study by Versailles Saint Quentin University/Institut Pasteur found that human contact is responsible for 90% of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in hospitals.
Make hand hygiene workshops mandatory and frequent. Also, make correct handwashing mandatory with supervisor checks.
Mandate immediate infection reporting.
If there is an outbreak at your hospital — be it one case or multiple cases — let your staff know you want to know about it immediately.
This is one situation in which administrative micromanaging is essential. The quicker you know the details of the situation, the quicker you can work with your medical team to contain and solve the issue, ensuring the safety of all your patients.
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