For health workers: With COVID-19 pandemic still fresh in our mind, it is easy to feel overwhelmed when it comes to controlling infection.
3 Patient Handling Steps for Better Infection Control
Every small step counts. Cleaning, disinfecting and sanitising correctly as we mentioned in another article are the keys to effective infection control.
WHO recommends employing basic hygiene principles that are known to reduce the risk of transmission of acute respiratory infection1 via standard and transmission-based precautions.
Standard precautions include hand hygiene (consistent with the 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene); use of personal protective equipment (PPE); safe use and disposal of sharps; routine environment cleaning; reprocessing of re-usable medical equipment and instruments; respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette; aseptic technique; and waste management and appropriate handling of linen.
Contact precautions include correct use of appropriate PPE, gloves, aprons or gowns, eyewear, face shields and face masks further prevents bacteria transmission.
The "5 Moments for Hand Hygiene" approach recommends healthcare workers to clean their hands:
- before contact with a patient,
- before cleaning/aseptic procedures,
- after body fluid exposure/risk,
- after contact with a patient, and
- after touching patient surroundings.
Where possible, limit direct contact to 1:1 - this is where patient handling equipment assists.
Many healthcare organisation uses lifters and slings for patient transfer safety. The other benefit of using patient transfer aid is minimising the cross-contamination from patient to carer and carer to patient.
Slings, Hoists & Lifters
In ANMF Policy, it states "a safe patient handling policy provides for a safer approach to patient/client handling whereby the manual lifting of patients/clients is eliminated or minimised wherever possible and so far as reasonably practicable"2
The transfer equipment does the heavy manual lifting, moving the patient from A to B safely and easily. Paired with disposable slings, the risk of infection is significantly reduced with the limited direct contact.
Let's break the chain of infection
- My 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene https://www.who.int/infection-prevention/campaigns/clean-hands/5moments/en/
- Safe patient handling https://www.anmf.org.au/documents/policies/P_Safe_Patient_Handling.pdf