Ways To Guard Against Germs in Healthcare Settings
Those who work in healthcare—from the doctors, nurses, and administrative staff in hospitals and nursing facilities to specialists like dentists, chiropractors, and physical therapists—are essential now more than ever. Healthcare professionals help others stay healthy and get back to normal. In the healthcare industry, exposure to sickness is part of the job. People who work in the healthcare industry are no strangers to needing to protect themselves from different germs. It is crucial that both those who work in a healthcare setting and those receiving healthcare stay safe from exposure to germs. Discover some of the many ways to guard against germs in healthcare settings. There are many ways to do so, and the below are suggestions for limiting germs in healthcare settings.
Encourage Staff and Guests To Keep a Six-Foot Distance
One of the first steps to guarding a healthcare facility against germs is to encourage all people on the premises to keep a safe distance from each other. The current recommendation is to keep at least a six feet distance from others at all times. Putting up signs around the facility to advise people to stay six feet apart is a helpful way to encourage a safe social distance. There are also benefits to investing in floor stickers placed six feet apart from each other in waiting rooms and other areas that often experience lines. For waiting rooms, many healthcare facilities are adjusting seating options to limit groupings and encourage six-foot distancing.
Provide Plenty of Handwashing and Sanitizing Stations
It’s also critical to provide enough stations for handwashing and hand sanitizing. Hands are the mode by which germs often get into the vulnerable areas of bodies, such as the eyes, nose, and mouth. When a person touches a surface that holds germs and then touches these vulnerable parts of the body, they open themselves up to sickness. Putting signs near the handwashing stations detailing the proper methods to wash hands effectively is a great idea. Below are the recommended guidelines for handwashing:
Step 1: Wet your hands with clean, warm water.
Step 2: Apply soap and lather by rubbing your hands together.
Step 3: Scrub hands for at least 20 seconds, making sure to get the backs of hands, under fingernails, in between fingers, and on wrists.
Step 4: Rinse the soap off of your hands under clean water.
Step 5: Dry your hands with a clean towel.
Encourage Staff and Guests To Wash Their Hands Frequently
Providing the opportunity to wash or sanitize hands regularly is only half the battle of guarding against germs in a healthcare setting. Be sure to encourage staff, patients, and all people in the facility to wash and sanitize their hands frequently. Below are some key times to wash or sanitize hands:
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- Before and after eating food
- After using the bathroom
- Before and after caring for a sick person
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After handling an animal
- After touching garbage
- After touching communal items such as light switches, door handles, pens, and more
Be sure to train your staff to remind patrons and visitors to wash their hands often. Ensure that your bathrooms, handwashing stations, and sanitizing stations are all well-labeled and easy to find. The visual reminder to clean hands is essential in encouraging a sanitary environment. This is especially important in a healthcare setting, as healthcare deals with sick people often. It’s crucial to wear PPE at all times while working in a healthcare industry. Defer to the industry guidelines and recommendations when considering which PPE to wear, such as face shields, masks, gloves, and more.
Require the Use of Masks for Everyone in the Building
Requiring everyone to use a mask while they’re in the facility is another way to guard against germs. Many germs spread through the mouth and nose. Wearing a face covering that covers both the nose and mouth will help to prevent the spread of those germs.
Putting up signs at the entrance to the facility will ensure that everyone who enters knows that they must wear a mask to enter and may be asked to leave if they remove it. It’s also a good idea to have disposable masks available for those who forget them. Wearing masks in public spaces has become much more commonplace and assumed because of the current COVID-19 pandemic, but this is a good recommendation for healthcare settings going forward.
People often wear cloth, homemade, or medical-grade face masks, depending on mask availability. Invest in masks to provide to the entire healthcare facility staff to wear to work each day so that they can protect themselves and others from unnecessary exposure to germs.
Ask Screening Questions Before Allowing Entry
Another method of protecting a healthcare facility from germs is by asking screening questions before allowing either staff or guests to enter. Asking if they are feeling ill and having them identify any possible symptoms will help you know who to allow in and who to ask to wait outside until the staff can prepare an isolated space for them. Below are some popular screening questions, though each healthcare facility will set its own standards according to the most recent CDC recommendations:
- Do you currently have a fever, or have you had one in the past 72 hours?
- Do you have a cough?
- Have you felt nauseated in the past 72 hours?
- Have you been exposed to anyone with an illness to your knowledge?
There are many more questions that one can ask in healthcare settings. Asking these simple questions is a great start when a patient or guest enter the building, but always refer to reputable sources, such as CDC guidelines and recommendations.
Disinfect Surfaces Often
Disinfecting surfaces often is one of the most important ways to guard against germs in a healthcare setting. One of the best and most effective ways to disinfect is by using an electrostatic sprayer. These work by coating surfaces in a disinfectant solution. The key is to apply a thin and even layer on all angles of the surface. Disinfecting is essential to killing germs on high-touch surfaces and ones that often encounter germs. Using an electrostatic sprayer is easy and efficient. Make sure to use a quality and safe disinfectant solution, and disinfect all high-touch surfaces regularly. For example, if you require patients to sign in, disinfect the pens after each usage.
There is more reason now than ever to find effective ways to guard against germs in healthcare settings with the current global pandemic. Baker Cleaning Solutions provides convenient and effective electrostatic backpack sprayers and disinfectant solutions for many settings, including those in healthcare. For more recommendations on the best ways to guard against germs in any setting, especially a healthcare one, consider reaching out to experts in the subject. Below are some sources used to gather information and other resources that can offer more advice.