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Prevention and control of infections Essay

Understand roles and responsibilities in the prevention and control of infections 1.1 Explain employees’ roles and responsibilities in relation to the prevention and control of infection It is our responsibility as employees to take precautionary measures to prevent and control the spread of infection in the workplace. This involves working safely to protect myself, other staff, visitors and individuals from infections. As employees we must ensure we attend all necessary trainings that our employers provide regarding infection control and prevention.

If an employee comes across a hazard such as bodily fluids spilt in an area or a staff member not wearing gloves you must report it immediately to a senior staff member and not ignore it as this may cause infection to spread. In the workplace employees need to put these safe ways of working into practice; for example by effective hand washing and not coming into work when you’re not feeling well as you will be putting others at risk. It is also important that all equipment is cleaned correctly to avoid cross infection this is because infection can also spread from one person to another through instruments, linen and equipment.

1.2 Explain employers’ responsibilities in relation to the prevention and control infection It is the duty of the employer to provide PPE, equipment, organise training for staff, undertake risk assessment and generally is responsible for the health and safety of staff in the work environment. Under health and safety law and regulations employers have to provide a safe workplace for all staff and also provide the required PPE and training and information for staff. Informing all staff of infection control policies, procedures and updates will ensure that all staff are being provided with the necessary information to follow safe practices when working whilst adhering to the law

Understand legislation and policies relating to prevention and control of infections 2.1 Outline current legislation and regulatory body standards which are relevant to the prevention and control of infection There are laws and legal regulations about infection prevention and control. Most of the legal regulations relating to infection prevention and control come under the Health and Safety at Work Act; this act is about ensuring a safe work place for employers, employees and members of the public by minimising accidents at work. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations introduced the need for monitoring health and safety and risk assessment; including infection prevention and control. The Food Safety Act was brought in to ensure safe practices for food to avoid contamination and spreading of infection and includes handling, storing and disposal of food. Legal regulations that come under HASAWA include The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH), this is relevant as it is about the prevention and control of pathogens and managing the safe storage and use of hazardous substances.

Reporting of Injury, Disease and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) is relevant as it requires that any infection or disease that is work related be recorded and reported. 2.2 Describe local and organisational policies relevant to the prevention and control of infection My organisation has policies and procedures on when and how to use protective equipment, cleaning routines to follow, how to maintain clean environments. This is in relation to different areas and activities such as in bathrooms and toilets where body fluids are present, handling laundry that may be contaminated with body fluids, disposing of hazardous waste, preparing, handling, cooking, serving and clearing food. PPE is essential when working with hazardous activities. There are many systems and procedures that provide ways of preventing and controlling the spread of infection.

Receiving regular information updates at work and attending training raises everyone’s awareness about infection prevention and control. Health care providers are also responsible for providing systems and procedures for preventing and controlling infection in terms of monitoring any infection outbreaks, providing immunisation programmes and using barrier nursing in care settings to contain and prevent the spread of infection; strict procedures must be followed when providing care to an individual being barrier nursed such as careful removal and disposal of PPE, through hand washing procedures and equipment. In terms of food hygiene, personal hygiene must be observed through effective hand washing, tying hair back, not wearing jewellery and wearing PPE. All kitchen utensils need to be kept clean as do work surfaces.

Food needs to be stored correctly, on different shelves in the fridge and different utensils used for different food types and cooked and raw foods. All guidelines must also be followed when cooking food thoroughly, ensuring that food is defrosted correctly, washing hands before serving and eating food. Understand systems and procedures relating to the prevention and control of infections 3.1 Describe procedures and systems relevant to the prevention and control of infection Procedures and systems relevant to the prevention and control of infection are following companies’ policies and procedures which relate to correct hand washing procedure, wearing correct PPE for example gloves, aprons and protective clothing, the correct disposal of waste and using the correct cleaning equipment when cleaning spillages, surfaces, equipment, etc.

3.2 Explain the potential impact of an outbreak of infection on the individual and the organisation The outbreak of infection can be fatal if care is not taken; for instance an outbreak of MRSA that can be resistant to most antibiotics can be fatal. The outbreak of an infection has consequences for individuals, staff and the organisation. It can cause ill health to all concerned and it can also impact emotionally because people that acquire infection relate it to being dirty and some infections may require people to be isolated from others for a period of time. The organisation could lose money if most of the staff are off sick and as they will then need to employ more staff which they will be paying to cover in addition to staff that are off sick. The organisation could also be fined by not complying with the law and in turn this will damage their reputation. Understand the importance of risk assessment, in relation to the prevention and control of infections

4.1 Define the term risk

The term risk means the likelihood of a hazard or an activity causing harm. 4.2 Outline potential risks of infection within the workplace In the workplace supporting individuals with personal care activities and sharing facilities with others involve coming into contact with bodily fluids which contain pathogens. Cleaning areas such as bathrooms that are dirty and where bodily fluids are present may be more likely to be contaminated with pathogens. Handling laundry that may be dirty or contaminated with bodily fluids can also contain pathogens. Handling of disposing of clinical waste, emptying waste containers and receptacles will also bring you into waste that are contaminated with pathogens. Providing personal care activities that require being close to an individual and dealing with bodily fluids increases the chance of infections spreading.

4.3 Describe the process of carrying out a risk assessment

There are five main stages to carrying out a risk assessment: 1) Identify the hazard – this means finding out what the hazards are and what might cause harm by observing but also by speaking with individuals, staff and visitors. 2) Evaluate the risks – this stage involves deciding who might be harmed and how and involves considering everyone in the workplace such as individuals, staff and visitors.

3) Take precautions – this involves deciding on what precautions must be taken to remove, reduce or avoid the hazards for example wearing the appropriate PPE might be a precaution. 4) Review the risks – the effectiveness of the precautions in place should be checked regularly to ensure that they are sufficient. 5) Report and record outcome – the findings of the risk assessment must be recorded and all those involved and who need to know should be given explanations and information on how these risks can be prevented and/or controlled.

4.4 Explain the importance of carrying out a risk assessment Risk assessment helps makes us aware of the risks involved in any activity and know how to reduce or remove the risk. It also helps to protect the organisation’s reputation because the risk assessment identifies the risks in the workplace and the measures put in place to control or eradicate such risks. In general, risk assessments are important as they reduce the risks of accidents and ill health to everyone.

Understand the importance of using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the prevention and control of infections 5.1 Demonstrate correct use of PPE Hand decontamination must be used before and after PPE use. I would use gloves to Protect hands from contamination with organic matter, micro-organisms, and chemicals. Minimise cross-infection from staff to patients and vice versa. Gloves must be discarded after each care activity for which they are worn to prevent the transmission of micro-organisms to other sites in that individual or to other patients. Appropriate waste disposal bins should be used. I would use an apron to protect my clothing from contamination. Masks to protect myself from the potential exposure to micro-organisms via splashes of blood and body fluids or contaminated cleaning fluids. Eye protection to protect my eyes from splash or spray of blood, body fluids, chemicals, etc.

5.2 Describe different types of PPE

• Gloves
• Aprons
• Face and eye protection
5.3 Explain the reasons for use of PPE

Prevention of cross contamination/ cross infection between individuals: e.g. staff to service user, service user to staff, between staff members, transfer from one service user to another and to and from visitors/ family members. 5.4 State current relevant regulations and legislation relating to PPE The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations set out how PPE should be used in the workplace and the responsibilities of both employees and employers’. These regulations come under the Health and Safety at Work Act in terms of protection and prevention.

5.5 Describe employees’ responsibilities regarding the use of PPE Employees’ responsibilities regarding the use of PPE include attend training about PPE and use PPE correctly and when it is necessary to do so. Employees need to attend training to know about how to put on, use and dispose of PPE safely. Employees must report immediately and not use any PPE that is torn or has a defect.

5.6 Describe employers’ responsibilities regarding the use of PPE Employers’ responsibilities regarding the use of PPE include providing the correct PPE in relation to the specific tasks that are carried out and for staff members (i.e. the correct fitting PPE); this must be provided free of charge. Employers need to have arrangements in place to make sure PPE is stored correctly and is available when needed. It is the duty of the employer to assess the need of PPE in the work environment. The employer must also train staff and provide them with information and guidance on how to use PPE.

5.7 Describe the correct practice in the application and removal of PPE Before putting on an apron you must first wash and dry your hands and then the neck strap must be placed over the head and the waist ties fastened behind the back. To remove the apron it is important to limit the areas your hand will touch in order to reduce the possibility of cross infection. You should pull at the neck strap and the waist strap making sure that it does not fall to the floor, then scrunch it up into a ball in your gloved hand and then dispose of it in the yellow bin bag. When removing PPE avoid touching any surface, remove the item before moving to the next patient, and place the item in the correct bin and wash and dry your hands afterwards in case of cross contamination.

5.8 Describe the correct procedure for disposal of used PPE

Disposal: appropriate disposal of single use items e.g. in clinical/hazardous waste where appropriate, preparation of re-usable items for re-use e.g. sending to laundry appropriately labelled etc. Following policies, procedures and guidelines Understand the importance of good personal hygiene in the prevention and control of infections

6.1 Describe the key principles of good personal hygiene

Some of the principles of good personal hygiene include washing hands before and after tasks and bathing regularly to prevent the spread of infection and body odour, keeping hair clean and tied back, wearing clean clothing and ensuring uniforms worn are washed regularly and only worn in the workplace to avoid the spread of infection, keeping nails trimmed and clean, not wearing jewellery at work as this can be a way of transporting pathogens. 6.2 Demonstrate good hand washing technique and

6.3 Describe the correct sequence for hand washing The stages for hand washing are as follows: 1) make sure that you remove any jewellery, 2) turn the water tap on and make sure that you can place both hands under the water comfortably and that it is at the right temperature so that you can wash your hands 3) wet both hands 4) apply soap and lather both hands palm to palm 5) rub each hand over the back of the other, 6) interlock fingers and rub fingers 7) rub thumbs 8) rub palms together 9) rinse to remove the soap residue 10) dry your hands with either a paper towel or an air drier.

6.4 Explain when and why hand washing should be carried out

Hand washing should be carried out regularly to help prevent and control the spread of infection and should be washed before starting work and putting on a clean uniform, before and after using PPE, before and after specific tasks such as after using the toilet, before and after handling and serving food, after handling waste, before and after carrying out activities with individuals

6.5 Describe the types of products that should be used for hand washing There are different types of products that should be used for hand washing and these include soap, antiseptic gels and alcohol-based hand rubs. Liquid soap from a dispenser should be used for hand washing in communal areas as these will have less pathogens then if bars of soap are shared between different people. Antiseptic gels contain chemicals that destroy pathogens and these are used where there is a higher risk of infection. Alcohol-based hand rubs should be used in addition to and not instead of hand washing with soaps and antiseptic gels and add an additional protective barrier against pathogens.

6.6 Describe correct procedures that relate to skincare

It is important to take care of our skin as it protects from pathogens; if the skin is not looked after it could become dry and develop cracks which in turn could become the route of pathogens. It is therefore important that hand cream is applied to help keep skin moisturised so that it does not become dry.


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