Patient safety is a wide topic in infection control and prevention course. There are many considerations that a healthcare assistant would need to learn to ensure that a patient is free from harm. This may include physical aspects of safety as well as non-physical.
Infection control and prevention course impart knowledge as well as techniques to the trainee to ensure that the patient feels respected and well cared for. This requires that the person providing this care understands the patient and works in their best interest. Let us consider some of these key aspects.
Healthcare Personal Hygiene
The healthcare assistant needs to ensure their own hygiene before they begin any of their duties as well as while they carry out their duties. This is important to prevent transmission of bacteria or viruses to the patient or from one patient to the other. To be able to do this, the assistant will need to do the following:
- Before washing hands, remove items like jewelry and watches that may provide a hiding place for germs.
- Thorough hand washing before they begin any duty that involves the patient
- Perform surgical scrub before any surgical procedure using antiseptic
- Dry hands with a paper towel before starting any tasks
Hand washing is the most important hygiene activity a health worker must perform before, during and after every procedure. They should also encourage other people like the patient’s caregiver to do the same.
The patient too needs to observe certain practices. The health worker can encourage them to wash their hands when necessary. For example, before they eat food and after visiting the toilet. One very important instance when they should be clean is when preparing for surgery. The health worker needs to prepare them for surgery and among the procedures is cleaning up. No contaminant should be carried into the theater whether by the medical staff or the patient. They should, therefore, be cleaned up properly.
Not just the people need to be clean, the assistant should learn how to keep the general area clean. This will include sanitizing surfaces, disposing of waste correctly as well as ensuring all the equipment that is used is clean and sanitized before they are used. Do not use the same equipment between patients without having them cleaned.
Part of health assistance training will include the safety of the patient. Particularly before and during surgery. A patient that will undergo surgery should be identified with a tag on their wrist that corresponds to their medical information. This will ensure that the right patient gets taken to the theater. It is then important that the right part gets operated so the area that the surgeon will work on needs to be clearly marked. If the patient is conscious, it would be a good idea to double-check with them if the right area has been marked. It is not unheard of that mistakes are made by nurses as they mark the area.
There is a lot more that a health assistant would need to learn and most of the above would be studied in detail to ensure they can execute their duties efficiently with the patient’s best interest in mind as well as their own safety. A health assistant cannot help the patient if they are not healthy themselves.