the Standard Infection Control Precautions

A simple break in the chain of infection by always using the Standard Infection Control Precautions (SICPs) can save the NHS thousands of pounds every year not to mention saving patients’ lives. Cleanliness Champions have been put in place to make sure Standard Infection Control Precautions are implemented within health care settings. MRSA (Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) is one example of the staphylococcus family common bacteria (BBC Health–MRSA).

There are many strains of MRSA and many people carry it in their throat, nose and skin folds. MRSA is an infectious agent and can live on the body for example in eczema, varicose and decubitus ulcers, this acts like a reservoir providing ideal conditions for the MRSA to lie in skin folds and in wounds. For the bacteria to exit the portal it can simple be spread from skin to skin contact. To break the chain of infection the patient should wash their hands. However, not practising good hygiene gives the bacteria a means of transmission.

The bacteria will wait for a portal of entry; this could be another patient touching contaminated skin. There have been a number of campaigns to eradicate the transmission of MRSA, and one of them is from the World Health Organisation “Save lives clean your hands”. This campaign is for Health Care workers to assess within their own departments how often hand hygiene is being carried out by their colleagues (WHO 2012). Hand hygiene is considered one of the most effective measures in reducing and preventing the incidence of avoidable illness, in particular HAI.

All staff within health care settings should be aware of this and perform hand hygiene effectively and in a timely fashion (Health Protection Scotland (HPS) May 2009). There are three main types of hand hygiene. Social Hand Hygiene which involves using soap and water. Hygienic Hand Hygiene is using antiseptic hand cleansers from a soap dispenser and then there is Surgical Scrub which involves scrubbing the hands and forearms with antiseptic cleansers. Each hand decontamination process uses a seven step technique.

The 5 moments for hand hygiene guidelines explain when hand hygiene should be used (WHO 2009). PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) can also be used to protect against HAIs. PPE consists of gloves, aprons, face masks and goggles. When dealing with potential infections a risk assessment should be done before dealing with the threat of the infection being transmitted. The risk assessment should include whether or not you may need to wear gloves or aprons. Eye protection should be used for theatre staff due to a huge potential of blood splashes.

Sharps include needles, scalpels, stitch cutters, glass ampoules and any sharp instrument. The main hazards of a sharps injury are hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. (Royal College of Nursing 2005). All sharps must be handled and used with a great deal of care and disposed of according to the Standard Infection Control Precautions (SICPs). If there has been an incident of a needle stick injury it must be reported and documented as required. All in all the Cleanliness Champions programme will help Health Care workers understand the importance of Infection control and hopefully it will create new generation of Nurses who will be vigilant to how important hand hygiene is. References BBC Health – MRSA (2012), What is MRSA, [On-line], Available: http://www. bbc. co. uk/health/physical_health/conditions/mrsa. shtml [17 March 2012] Health Protection Scotland (HPS) (May 2009), National Hand Hygiene NHS Campaign Compliance with Hand Hygiene – Audit Report Health Protection Scotland (Report): Available: http://www. hps. scot. nhs. uk/haiic/ic/ nationalhandhygienecampaign. aspx [17 March 2012]

Royal College of Nursing, (2005). Good Practice in Infection Prevention and Control, Guidance for Nursing Staff, Vol. 1, pp. 7-8 WHO (2009) WHO Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health care: a summary, [Online] Available: http://whqlibdoc. who. int/hq/2009/WHO_IER_PSP_2009. 07_eng. pdf WHO (2012), Your action Plan for Hand Hygiene Improvement Template, Action Plan for WHO Framework, Inadequate/Basic Results, [On-line], Available: http://www. who. int/gpsc/5may/EN_PSP_GPSC1_5May_2012/en/index. html [17 March 2012]a