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Dr Hudson Garrett Jr.
PhD, MSN, MPH, FNP-BC, PLNC, VA-BC, IP-BC, CDONA, FACDONA
Global Chief Clinical Officer at Pentax Medical, Chief Clinical Officer, National Association of Directors of Nursing Administration
The following article has been based on a seminar given by Dr Hudson Garrett Jr. at The Interclean Group’s Future Disinfection Now Conference 2017, titled, ‘The Role of the Clinical Environment of Care in the Transmission of HAI’s: What’s happening in the homes, and transferring to the hospitals’.
Prevention of pathogen vs Prevention of transmission
Take a moment and ask yourself this question. Is it possible to have a healthcare environment free of Hospital Acquired Infection’s (HAI’s)? As a healthcare professional who encounters the complexities of the healthcare system on a daily basis, it’s likely you answered no. But take another second, and view this question from the perspective of a patient or patient’s family member. Unquestionably, they say ‘Yes!’. Yes, we should be able to go to the hospital or go to an aged care facility without worrying about contracting an infection.
How do we manage an environment with such enormous disparities? How do we minimise the risk of the transmission of these HAI’s and create the safest possible environment in our facilities?
Contrary to public belief, our healthcare facilities were not created to be sterile. In fact, not even our operating theatres are sterile. They are, however, created to be as clean as possible. And in order to create an environment which is as clean as possible, all departments need to work together with integrated procedures, processes and measures of accountability that make sense. Using the example of the airline industry, air hostesses, pilots, the control centre and technicians on the ground all know exactly what to do in the unlikely event of an engine going down and are thoroughly prepared to deal with any event. In the same way, all the different areas of responsibility, within the healthcare industry, need to be prepared and equipped to deal with infections and outbreaks. Nursing, surgeons, environmental services, infection control and management need to be aware of what the plan is in order to best stop the spread of infection. Collaboration is key.
It’s well known that hand hygiene is the first line of defence against infection outbreak, but with an alarming 80% hand hygiene compliance in healthcare facilities, it is clear that more education is needed surrounding the different ways that infections are transferred amongst healthcare staff. Information such as the different states of bacteria, how bacteria can be colonised without being an actual infection, the difference between cleaning and disinfection, and the way that different types of bacteria are transmitted would assist all involved in this industry to play their part well.
The question, “How are the bacteria transmitted?”, is one of the most fundamental questions you must ask as a healthcare manager. Regardless of what type of bacteria you are dealing with, be it Ebola, VRE or C-Difficile, if you understand how to stop it spreading, you can deal with it and you can control it.
The most commonly asked question I heard during the recent Ebola outbreak was unquestionably, “What disinfectant is effective against Ebola?”. Treating the outbreak alone with super disinfectant to kill it was not the right method of cleaning for this type of outbreak. What it required was the right strategy to stop it spreading. By up-skilling all departments within the healthcare industry with knowledge about bacteria and how it acts, we are able to truly create safe environments in our facilities.
To hear the full message from Dr Hudson, click below to access your private viewing code.