Infectious pathogens in the blood can be transferred from one person to another causing bloodborne diseases. Other body fluids like semen, vaginal discharges, amniotic fluid, saliva, etc. can also cause such infectious diseases. And prior to proper testing, it is impossible to know which blood samples are infected. Therefore, it is best to absorb all samples as potentially infected and handle them with the utmost care. And as such, basic precautionary measures that should be taken by your health care employees while handling potentially blood and body fluids are known as universal precautions.
There are four main departments in the hospital that must strictly adhere to the universal precedents, as discussed below.
· Laboratory: It is mainly the hospital laboratory that deals with blood samples on a daily basis. This place is filled with chemicals, sharp instruments and equipment, and uncountable blood samples that are likely to be infected. There is maximum risk of employees contracting bloodborne diseases here. It is mandatory for your health workers to wear protective clothing like gloves, gowns and eye gear at all times. Other personal protective equipment like foot covers and face shields must also be worn hanging on the work being done. All these equipments are important as they keep your skin protected from pathogens and also from dangerous chemical splashes.
· Housekeeping: The housekeeping department in your health care organization will not only be responsible for sweeping and swabbing but also for the decontamination of work areas and for proper disposal of fluids and sharp instruments. All housekeeping workers must be given gloves, aprons and gowns to wear while cleaning work stations, floors, walls and furniture. All necessary precautions must be properly followed to prevent spread of infection.
· Laundry and Linen: Special care must be taken by your employees working in the laundry and linen department. They must wear gloves and protective gowns at all times. Dirty linen must be segregated into separate bags with stained clothes folded in such a way that the dirty part in inside. Transfer of dirty linen from wards and operation theater to laundry must be done through a separate route where patients and others are not present. It is recommended that the worker changes his gloves while dealing with used linen.
· Nursing Department: It is the nurses who majorly deal with the patients. They are involved in drawing blood, giving injections, changing beds and patient gowns, etc. All these activities involve a small chance of infection spread. While using needles and sharp equipments they must be careful to avoid getting pricked accidentally. All needles and sharp instrument must be disposed off in special sharp containers. They must always wear gloves that are in good condition and follow correct practice of hand washing while dealing with patients. Nurses must be alert in cases of fluid spills which are very dangerous.
Universal precautions are to be followed by employees in all departments of your health care organization, with special emphasis on the above mentioned four departments. This is an integral part of the working process of the organization.