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Infection Control Education: Necessity, Evolution & Its Infinite Scope in Healthcare Settings

Infection control is vital, extending beyond hospitals to all clinical settings where patients receive healthcare services. Ranging from the use of masks to the disposal of bio-medical waste, the methodologies adopted by healthcare workers could significantly vary the degree of infection control possible. Patient safety being the most crucial factor, the application of best practices for infection control becomes obligatory. This suggests that the heart of effective infection control lies in imparting comprehensive education. However, reinforcing such education proves to be a challenge given the daunting figures of about 300,000 HAIs (healthcare-associated/hospital-acquired Infections) per annum in US hospitals alone.

Certainly, education regarding infection control best practices is not finite; it calls for consistent upgradation in congruence with the continuous evolution of infection control procedures. A formidable threat that patients in hospitals confront is Healthcare-associated Infections (HAIs). According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), a minimum of 1 in 31 patients acquire an HAI while receiving treatment in a hospital. Fortunately, the 2015 HAI Hospital Prevalence Survey presented some relief with a 3% drop in HAIs when pitted against the 2011 statistics.

However, the persistent presence of pathogens in healthcare settings has spawned antibiotic-resistant strains. This leads to misinterpretation in clinical responses, potentially resulting in the misuse of antimicrobial medications and triggering a vicious circle of pathogen resistance. Since 2009, the CDC has used the Survey to enhance data collection pertaining to HAIs’ prevalence and the clinical responses extended.

While considering the role of patients in infection prevention control (IPC), views in the healthcare industry vary regarding the extent and form of patient participation. However, concrete evidence advocates clearer guidelines regarding patient behavior’s impact on infection control. Tackling the power imbalance between patients and healthcare providers also necessitates urgent attention. An integrated study indicated potential positive outcomes with patient inclusion in IPC, advocating an increased role for patients, thereby reducing the provider’s burden.

Continuing education proves crucial in the unending battle of preventing and controlling infection. All healthcare staff need to understand the logic behind IPC practices and their impact on patient health. Detailed knowledge of guidelines and procedures serving IPC is equally important. Therefore, the provision of ongoing training with mandatory attendance is a requirement.

Training areas should cover personal hygiene and the handling of home medical equipment. Regular monitoring is paramount for adherence to policies and procedures, without hampering patient care. Screening for MRSA should take place for every patient within the first 24 hours of hospital admission. Long-term monitoring mechanisms can be executed annually or even more frequently, fostering a culture of sterile awareness.

A team that stands united in IPC, with continuous up-to-date training ensures a finely-tuned IPC system. It starts with people and ends with performance. Ensuring all staff are well-versed with the policies and procedures increases the likelihood of IPC success in a clinical setting. By encouraging a sterile awareness culture through proper education, we can work towards effective IPC, keeping pathogens under tight control. Education thus emerges as the leading tool in this approach.

Source: https://www.fightbookmma.com/the-human-factor-educating-healthcare-workers-on-infection-control-best-practices/

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