3 Ways Hospitals Prevent Healthcare-Associated Infections

3 Ways Hospitals Prevent Healthcare-Associated Infections

Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) can lead to extended hospital stays, significant illness, and death. People can contract HAIs while receiving healthcare for another condition.

Hospitals and other medical facilities use preventative measures to ensure patient safety. Discover three ways hospitals prevent healthcare-associated infections.

Stringent Hand Hygiene

Maintaining hand hygiene standards is the leading infection control method in healthcare settings. Hospitals implement rigorous hand hygiene protocols to reduce the transmission of pathogens between patients and healthcare workers.

The two primary methods healthcare workers use for hand hygiene are handwashing and alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Handwashing and sanitizing techniques, glove use, and proper skin and nail care protect healthcare workers and patients from potentially deadly germs.

Cleaning, Disinfection, and Sterilization

Hospital environments can harbor infectious agents, making proper cleaning and disinfection a crucial way hospitals prevent healthcare-associated infections. Cleaning removes dirt, dust, and other debris from surfaces, and custodians regularly clean before disinfecting. Disinfecting kills harmful bacteria and viruses.

Hospitals develop and enforce comprehensive cleaning protocols, which include guidelines for cleaning high-touch surfaces such as bed rails, bedside tables, IV poles, and moveable lamps.

Sterilizing Instruments and Equipment

Workers in a hospital’s sterile processing department (SPD) clean and sterilize devices used in medical procedures, killing all microorganisms on the equipment. Steam and dry heat are two different sterilization methods that SPDs commonly use, with steam sterilization as the predominant form.

Antibiotic Stewardship Programs

The misuse and overuse of antibiotics significantly contribute to the rise of antibiotic-resistant infections. Antibiotic stewardship programs promote the appropriate use of antibiotics to reduce resistance and improve patient outcomes.

These programs involve multidisciplinary teams, including infection prevention teams, pharmacists, clinicians, and nursing staff. The programs educate healthcare providers on optimal antibiotic prescribing practices and monitoring antibiotic use.

Hospitals protect the health of patients, visitors, and staff members with stringent hand hygiene, cleaning and disinfection, and antibiotic stewardship programs. These three methods are just a few of the preventative measures hospitals implement to reduce HAIs and improve healthcare outcomes.