In professional care, the issue of infection control is very important. Every caregiver has to deal with many different people on a daily basis. And all have different diseases. This means that it is not only a matter of keeping the nurse healthy, but also of preventing the possible spread of pathogens between patients.
When care is provided by relatives, in the vast majority of cases only one person is being cared for. Existing diseases and the associated possible risks of infection are usually known. Experience shows that only a small number of people in need of care suffer from infectious diseases. This is then also mostly known.
But there is also a risk that the person in need of care will be infected by the caregiver. The close personal contact in home care favors the transmission of germs. People in need of care usually have a weakened immune system. Nevertheless, the topic of "infectious diseases" is of secondary importance in home care. In the sense of a comprehensive prevention nevertheless the fundamental aspects are presented.
Not every infection results in an infectious disease. This depends to a large extent on the strength of the immune system. To effectively prevent infection, certain rules of hygiene must be observed. If you know which activities involve risks and how to protect yourself from them, infections in home care can be easily avoided.
Remember that effective infection control always consists of several components. General and special hygiene, personal protective measures and the correct disposal of consumables go hand in hand. If an outpatient care service helps you with your care, you can receive advice and recommendations for your own actions from their specialists. Your family doctor will also be happy to advise you. Please inform yourself thoroughly if the person in need of care has been found to be colonized or even infected with a multi-resistant germ.
Which infectious diseases can occur and how are they transmitted??
In principle, pathogens (e.g. B. Bacteria, viruses and fungi) are absorbed through the respiratory tract, the mouth or the (injured) skin. This can be done either directly or through contaminated materials. The most common infectious diseases are flu-like infections and gastrointestinal diseases. Less common, but with more serious health effects, are z. B. Pneumonia, influenza, wound infections, HIV infection, and the various forms of hepatitis.
Which activities in nursing have a risk of infection?
Increased caution should be exercised in all activities where contact with body excretions, body fluids and secretions may occur. These are essentially:
- Oral hygiene support
- Washing, especially intimate hygiene
- Changing incontinence pads
- Assistance with toileting
- special treatment care (z. B. Care of an artificial bowel outlet, changing a urine bag, suctioning the respiratory tract, care of open wounds)
- Cleaning dirty surfaces or objects
- Washing the person in need of care’s body-hugging linen
During these activities, germs can get onto the skin and then be absorbed through the mucous membranes. Spread via the hands into food is also possible.
Which measures are necessary?
In order to exclude possible sources of infection in the home environment, compliance with the general hygiene rules by all persons living in the household is necessary, regardless of whether there is direct involvement in the nursing care. You should pay particular attention to the following points:
- Thorough cleaning of surfaces and objects most likely to spread pathogens (z. B. Toilet seats, wash bowls, grab bars, door handles, cooking and eating utensils, refrigerator). Cleaning with water and household cleaner is sufficient in most cases. In the case of visible contamination with bodily excretions or secretions, disinfect after cleaning, z. B. with a use solution or soaked cloths, necessary.
- To prevent foodborne illness, follow hygiene rules for food preparation, storage, and administration. Particular attention should be paid to hand hygiene, the condition and temperature of food and the cleanliness of containers.
- Items of personal use (e.g. B. Towels, washcloths, razors, toothbrushes, nail clippers) should not be shared.
- Thorough hand cleansing with running water and soap; hand disinfection is additionally required when caring for a patient with a known infection. Use products that are as gentle on the skin as possible.
- Contaminated waste, such as. B. Incontinence and dressing materials, should be collected separately in liquid-tight and sealable trash cans and disposed of in residual waste.
- Regular change of linen and washing at a temperature of at least 60 °C with heavy-duty detergent, separately from other linen. Additional safety is provided by disinfectant solutions that can be added to the laundry. Dirty laundry should be stored separately in liquid-tight containers.
In addition to these general measures of good household hygiene, which should always be applied, the following should be observed:
- Do not wear jewelry on hands and forearms during nursing activities, otherwise effective hand washing or hand disinfection is not given.
- Use tear-resistant disposable gloves (z. B. made of nitrile or vinyl) during nursing activities involving contact with blood, secretions, and excretions.
- Use z. B. for intimate hygiene preferably disposable washcloths and tear-proof wet wipes.
- When administering injections or measuring blood sugar, work calmly and with concentration to avoid injuries. Protective caps should not be put back on used needles. Please use containers for disposal that are puncture-resistant, shatterproof and can be securely closed.
Please also note the following general information:
- Newborns, the elderly, pregnant women, and immunocompromised or immunocompromised individuals are at higher risk for infection. If such persons live in the care household, special attention should be paid to consistent adherence to routine hygiene measures.
- Strengthen your own immune system and thus the natural protection against infections by taking care of your own well-being.
- Suffer yourself z. B. In case of an influenza infection or diarrhea, increased hygiene measures (hand disinfection, cough hygiene) should be taken. Sick family members or visitors should avoid close contact with the person in need of care for the duration of the illness, if possible.
What material is needed?
- Disposable gloves, disposable plastic aprons
- Hand disinfectant
- Disposable cleaning wipes, disinfectant wipes, surface disinfectants
- Trash and laundry containers
- Containers for hypodermic needles, insulin pens and lancets
- Incontinence pad for the bed
Seek advice from your medical supply store or pharmacy.