26 Nov How hospitals stop germs from spreading
But hospitals are working hard to reduce infection rates with some success, and have strategic processes in place to reduce the chances of patients becoming ill because of infection.
Education and training
In today’s modern hospitals staff have regular training on infection prevention and control, and frequent audits are carried out to ensure they continue to comply with strict hygiene policies.
Educating visitors is also a major part of this battle. At the entrances to wards and other clinical areas hospitals have signs reminding both patients and visitors, as well as staff, to clean their hands while alcohol gel dispensers are ubiquitous.
Family and friends who are ill are also urged to not visit to reduce the spread of harmful bacteria.
Hospitals also use patient data to help reduce infection rates.
At Kings College Hospital in London, for example, staff regularly collate information on rates of antibiotic-resistant infections in each ward and department, and if a patient, who has previously had MRSA or any other antibiotic-resistant infection is readmitted to King’s, its Infection Control Team is automatically alerted via the electronic patient record system.
Modern hospitals also have a strategic process for cleaning, disinfecting and sterilising all the equipment that comes into contact with people. This process involves specialised washer – disinfectors and pressurised high-temperature steam autoclaves designed to kill all microorganisms. Areas of hospitals are sectioned off into clean and sterile zones to further prevent bacteria and germs spreading.
Specific protocols are also in place on how instruments are packaged and handled before and after autoclaving to ensure that items remain sterile and don’t become re-contaminated.
Denny Bros is also helping minimise infection risks through the development of an antimicrobial label designed to offer high levels of protection against harmful bacteria and superbugs.
Using a silver additive, we recently added antimicrobial features to our range of labels including our multi-page and peel and reveal labels, as well as our Patient Information Leaflet (PILs).
We have seen high demand for these products from the healthcare sector and believe they go some way to tackling the challenge harmful bacteria and superbugs pose modern healthcare professionals.