Healthcare Solutions 13 November, 2015

Offense or Defense: What Is the Best Strategy to Avoid Disease Transmission?

You’ve heard it before: the best offense is a good defense. This is particularly true in disease prevention. First, leadership and staff across departments and functions must understand common sources of infections and identify the right protective measures. Second, a cross-department team must implement a plan containing these supporting processes to dramatically reduce contamination and infection exposure.
 
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A great example of this approach was highlighted this week in advance for NURSES magazine, a publication covering topics relevant to nursing. Nancy Kerr, manager, infection prevention at Meridian Health’s Ocean Medical Center in Brick, N.J. – a system using the Stericycle Sharps Management Service – shared common causes of C.diff transmission and tips for avoiding disease transmission in general. Causes of C.diff are either environmental – for example when bacteria is living on stationary objects – or carried from person to person. What is a staff’s best offensive play to avoid infections? Kerr offers several reminders for us all:
  • Hand hygiene
  • Proper equipment cleaning and disinfection
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Antibiotic stewardship
  • Use of low-touch equipment and devices such as reusable sharp containers
As a disease prevention specialist, Kerr has done her diligence. Procedures and safety surrounding equipment and stationary objects in particular must be highly scrutinized. As such, when our reusable sharps containers are at most three-quarters full, one of Stericycle’s onsite staff members who is well trained removes the container for proper disposal. Containers are then transported to go through an automated process to be disinfected according to OSHA regulations. The proactive service and disinfection practices by Stericycle has proven successful for Meridian Health. The risk of C.diff or any other disease transmission when using reusable containers is virtually eliminated with this safe practice for her team and their patients. While these reminders and protocols are the beginning, they are a great start to reducing risk and increasing compliance for your facility.

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