In the midst of cold and flu season, and with the Ebola outbreaks fresh in everyone’s mind, infection control is a top priority in many facilities, particularly health care facilities. While this year the Ebola virus has been the focus of many concerns, years past have seen C. Diff., MRSA, swine flu, bird flu, and the traditional Influenza A all receive high levels of attention in terms of infection control. The point here is that in terms of cleaning and maintenance, the particular pathogen does not matter as much as the infection control program put into place.
Regardless of the pathogen, it is important to develop and implement an infection control program that prioritizes cleaning and prevention. Custodial departments and the like should be well-prepared for an outbreak of any kind. This means developing procedures for cleaning, patient treatment, and general practices that control and prevent the spread of infections.
Custodial managers should not only ensure that proper chemicals and materials are on hand, but also provide proper personal protective equipment and make sure all employees are properly trained to handle any infectious material and react to any type of outbreak. Developing these plans and procedures is critical in preventing the further spread of any outbreak, regardless of what pathogen we are worrying about.
In terms of actual policies and procedures regarding the handling of an outbreak, both the CDC and OSHA provide good material on how to react to these occurences, and can be very helpful in developing your own infection control program.
The CDC has released a checklist to help health care facilities prepare for possible Ebola outbreaks by developing their own “Preparedness Plan.” This checklist includes having the proper personal protective equipment available, developing proper environmental cleaning procedures, and providing up-to-date training for personnel. Click here for the full checklist from the CDC.
OSHA provides further information specifically dealing with cleaning and disinfecting surfaces contaminated with pathogens, with Ebola being the main concern. Tips include making sure any bodily fluid spills are immediately cleaned up, isolating possible contamination areas, and using tools as much as possible rather than gloved hands. Click here for more tips on cleaning and disinfecting from OSHA.
Although it seems like every year a different pathogen or infection is the focus of public concern, and this may be true, developing and implementing a proper infection control program to react to and prevent the spread of outbreaks can be your best defense against these infections.
For more information on infection control, disinfectants, and help developing an infection control program, visit Multi-Clean’s Infection Control webpage.