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Transient micro – organisms
These are found on the skin and only live there for a short time. The are easy passed from one person to another, unless remove. These are also carry by healthcare assistant hands and equipment, this is Healthcare Associated infections (HCAis), good hand hygiene removes risks.
Resident micro – organisms, these live deeper in the skin or nose, most of them are harmless, they are a part of our immune system and help us protect from infection. They can cause infection to patient who are vulnerable to infection.
What is infection?
An infection is harmful micro – organisms (pathogens) in the body that causes illness and disease. People can get infections from equipment, staff that are not wearing the right clothing, such as gloves, masks and aprons, it can also be caught through bodily fluids, blood and air.
Micro – organisms can enter the body and grow, multiply and the patient will become sick. For the illness to occur, this is know as the chain of infection and the six links of the chain , each following the other. In the healthcare environment, its aim is to break the chain and stop the infection from occurring.
Chain of infection
Infection agent, this can be a bacterium, virus, fungus or parasite, humans and animals carry this micro – organisms, this can be found everywhere around us.
Reservoir, this is where the infection lives and reproduces and it is easy transmitted to others. The reservoir can be animals, insects, people, water and food.
Portal of exit, this is where the infection agent leaves the host, this can be done by the respiratory tract, such as coughing, sneezing and talking. Gastrointestinal tract is vomiting and diarrhoea, non – intact skin is draining wounds or mucous membranes (eyes, nose, mouth)
Mode of transmission this is the way the micro – organisms travels from the reservoir to the host, this can be direct or indirect (via a vehicle) animals .
Portal of entry this is where the infections agent enters the new host, this done when the patient had has vomiting and diarrhoea or coughing, sneezing . it can also be transmitted through sharp object like a needle.
Susceptible host is the person, who is about to become infected by the infections agent. The people who get infected (exposed to micro – organisms ) can get sick, as they do not have the antibodies to protect them by immunisation or through previous infections. Some people are vulnerable to infections, they are the elderly, very young, pregnant women and those with health problems.
Startard precaution should be met to break the chain of infection
- Correct hand washing
- Segregation of healthcare linen
- Segregation of healthcare risk and non risk waste
- Control of dust
- Cleaning of equipment and environment cleaning
- Use of appropriate personal protective equipment (ppe)
- Pest control
These are infection control guidelines to be use by staff on a daily basic,
- Hand washing
- Waste management and decontamination issues
- Management of linen / respiratory hygiene
- Cough etiquette
- Appropriate use of PPE (personal protective equipment)
These standards precautions are break the chain of infection and to prevent the transmission of common infection, which could be in blood, bodily fluids, sweating, excretions (poo), non – intact skin (open wounds), and mucous (eyes ) and membranes (nose )
Some additional controls are require in other infections, such as TB (swine flu) salmonella, chicken pox and measles, these are air born and droplet precautions.
Precautions should be put into place to prevent the transmission of highly transmissible organisms that can be passed from person to person by shaking hands or coming in contact with animals ( dogs/ cats).
Contact can be both direct or indirect contact, the following precautions should be put into place.
- Isolation unit / room if available
- Contact the infection prevention and control team on the clinical nurse manager in change if there is no isolation unit/ room available (patient cohorting may take place) that means that two people in the same room
- PPE gowns and gloves for all interactions
- Care of the patient / client equipment
- Decontamination of equipment and the environment
- Hand hygiene (good hand washing )
Airborne precaution should be put into place along side all other high transmissible organisms that are transmitted through air from person to person (TB, chicken pox and measles)
The prevention of these pathogens can reduce the transmission of the infection.
Airborne precautions include
- Airborne infection isolation room, which the air changes every hour
- Use appropriate face masks as wrote into policy
- Make sure face masks are filled properly before entering the room and remove from the face only after leaving the room
- Staff training
- The patient is to wear appropriate face mask if leaving the room.
Droplet precautions should be applied a long side other high prevent measures, to stop the transmitted of organisms that are passed from one person to another, (influanzal )
Control measures that are put in place are the following
A single room where available , if no single room is free, leave at least three feet between beds and pull the curtain between them especially if there is more than one person in the room
Surgical masks, gloves and aprons must be worn (PPE) and if the patient is leaving the room a masks must be worn.
Pathogens are a micro – organism that can get into the body and cause harmful infection, such as flu. Some infections are dealt with easy enough more may cause problems.
Pathogens can stay on the body without causing any infection, this is know as colonisation, this can be transferred to another person causing them to get an infection.
Methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus
Nurses and all healthcare staff can carry this on their hands and give it to any patients that they touch , also the organisms can live in the dust for a long time. Staff clothing and equipment can be involved in transmission of these organisms.
Patients with open wounds/ skin lesions or a weak immune system can get the infection very quickly. The main control is hand washing, also staff must wear proper clothing, gloves and masks and patients should be in single room where possible.
Good house keeping and cleaning policies should in place and great attention should be taken. Both nurses healthcare assistant and cleaning staff should have PPE and all gloves, apron, masks be carefully dispose of after use.
Staphylococcus infections are hard to treat, this colonises (stays on ) the nose and skin of healthy people. In particular the groin and perineum, this can be carry intermittently and can cause infection if it enter damage skin or surgical wounds.
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