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Infection control: in every season and for everyone

With flu season just around the corner, now is a great time to ensure you’re practicing infection prevention and control at work, at home and in your community.
 
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Practicing infection prevention and control is important in every season, and we can all make a difference in this area on a daily basis.

“No matter what area you work in – direct patient care or behind the scenes – infection prevention and control is everyone’s responsibility,” says Jocelyn Srigley, corporate director, infection prevention and control at PHSA. “We can all make a difference to our patients, clients, residents, colleagues and families by practicing good infection control and protecting them and ourselves from illness.” 
Five key areas of infection prevention and control are:
  1. Cleanliness and disinfection
  2. Hand washing
  3. Risk assessment
  4. Vaccination
  5. Personal protective equipment (PPE)
We spoke with a few PHSA employees from across the organization who provided their best tips on preventing infection:

Alison Chant, infection control practitioner, BC Cancer – Vancouver:

“Did you know that medical equipment is divided into three categories, based on how it used in patient care?

  1. Critical (things like scalpels that are used to make incisions through the skin)
  2. Semi-critical (things like bronchoscopes that go into natural openings in the body)
  3. Non-critical (things like blood pressure cuffs and IV pumps that come into contact with intact skin)
Critical, semi-critical and non-critical medical equipment require different levels of disinfection, but – all medical equipment must be cleaned of visible dirt before it is disinfected! Otherwise disinfection won’t work. Cleaning involves physically removing organic matter and infectious agents from surfaces.” 

How can you help?

  • Remove visible dirt using an approved cleaning method. 
  • Don’t let dirt and debris dry on medical equipment – that makes it harder to clean!
  • Know the cleaning and disinfection plan for all the medical equipment you use. 

Amrita Dhaliwal, hand hygiene coordinator, infection prevention and control, PHSA:

“Hand hygiene is a very simple task everyone can perform to improve health outcomes, not just in health care, but in their day to day lives. Please spread the word on the importance of performing proper hand hygiene. This can help decrease both morbidity and mortality rates we see each year at PHSA as well as all over our country.”

Vladena Abed, infection prevention and control coordinator, BC Children’s Hospital and BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre: 

“There are some scenarios that need more than routine infection control practices. This is when you would use additional precautions - specialized isolation rooms, signage and screening protocols and Personal Protective Equipment (masks, gowns, gloves and facial protection). Additional precautions should be implemented as soon as disease or risk factors are suspected or identified – a confirmed diagnosis of particular pathogen is not necessary.”

What do you do to prevent infection? Share this article with your network and continue the conversation.

For more information about how PHSA and its programs ensure a safe environment for our patients, visitors and employees, please visit: phsa.ca/about/accountability/infection-prevention-control.
Flu prevention; Infection Control
 
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