Infections acquired in the healthcare facility is the main cause of deaths worldwide. Approximately, 2 million new preventable contaminations resulting to about 90,000 deaths occur annually (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2020). This statistics implies that healthcare staff should be more vigilant in preventing disease spread at their workplaces.
This infection control and training program addresses problems related to the control of corona virus pandemic, which has devastated many nations at the present.
Corona virus also referred to as COVID-19 has joined the list of nosocomial infections (World Health Organization (WHO), 2020). Prevention of this virus requires formulation of policies and procedures that can minimize their contaminations in all health care facilities.
All the employees including doctors, nurses, medical laboratory technologist, and non medical staff will be trained.
The training will enable all the workers to have knowledge of the virus transmission mechanism and infection control principles.
The COVID-19 IPC goal is to containing and control the spread of the virus in order to maintain and support delivery of essential healthcare services. It also aims at keeping healthcare workers and patients in hospital safe and healthy.
Training of healthcare workers prevents them from risking their own health wellbeing.
Importance of Infection and Training Program
The trained staff will co-ordinate, formulate, audit, and implement policies to be utilized in controlling COVID-19 spread.
Healthcare workers are in contact with patients through out, they are at a more risk of contracting corona virus in the workplace.
Approximately 9,000 health care workers have contracted corona virus (Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics (CDC), 2020).
Infection Control Committee
The committee main role is to control COVID -19 spread through policies formulation. The doctors in the committee recommend surveillance and victim identification strategy. Nurses apply direct interventions when dealing with sick people, they also practise the stipulated precautionary measures to generate an outcome. The head of departments are required to inform their staff members about new policies and monitor adherence to regulations. The committee is also responsible for educating and training all staff on better prevention measures.
COVID-19 virus originated from China but it has been transmitted to most parts of the world. It is mainly spread through droplet, which contaminates the air and surfaces after coughing and sneezing out respiratory secretions.
COVID-19 symptoms major symptoms include cough, fever or chills, headache, shortness of breath, runny nose body, and muscle aches, and difficulty in breathing. Other symptoms are include nasal congestion, loss of taste or smell, diarrhea, and sore throat.
The process of preventing spread of infections during delivery of healthcare is critical for preventing epidemics (Chirico et al., 2020). It is crucial to ensure that workers are healthy and safe during this pandemic. However, the current trend indicates that the rates of new infections among healthcare workers is higher relative to other individuals not in medical field in the US (Ng et al., 2020). This is because they are mostly in contact with patients who have acquired the pathogen from the community.
This current infection control program is expected to improve surveillance through frequent reporting of infected healthcare workers to facilitate isolation and initiation of preventive measures.
Optimum Infection Control Practices in Healthcare Facilities
Daily preventive measures include;
- Hand hygiene using alcohol based sanitizer or soap and water
- Disinfecting objects and surfaces frequently
- Covering the face using mask
- Social distancing by restricting movement and visitations, and avoiding crowded places
- Staying indoors when sick and avoiding contact with sick persons
Policies to Control COVID-19 VIRUS Spread
In this COVID -19 epidemic period, patients reporting to hospitals with acute respiratory symptoms such as fever, shortness of breath, and cough should not intermingle with other patients. Close contacts between patients lead to transmission of the virus, thus, hospital beds should be spaced by more than 1 metre.
The policies promote social distancing. It also reduces the contact with corona virus patients and surfaces with SARS-COV –Virus. The policies formed minimizes crowds and contact with people in the office, meetings and training.
The hierarchy of controls adopted from National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, (2020) is to be used in protecting employees against COVID-19 virus.
- Protection takes place from the highest point of the pyramid moving downwards.
- Engineering control involves protection of employees from risks, it is achieved by making sure that workplaces are well ventilated.
- Ultra violet radiation systems, sneeze guards, plastic shield, and biological safety cabinet are engineering controls established in medical laboratory.
- The administrative controls entails changing hospital policies and procedures.
- Formulation of work from home policies for employees without healthcare delivery duties will be undertaken.
- In the OSH Act both the employee and the employer have a responsibility to make work environment friendly.
- The employers are required to provide a healthy and safe environment.
- On the other hand, the workers should take part in the creation and implementation of health and safety policies.
- The involvement of both workers and employers in this act ensures that the law is implemented suitably.
- There is a higher risk of self-contamination by when taking out the removing PPEs (Chirico et al., 2020).
Guidelines for Controlling COVID -19 Spread in Health Care Settings
COVID -19 can be acquired from the healthcare facilities. Thus, all employers should practice preventive measures by ensuring that protective equipment’s are available. Training, and procedures undertaken has to be fully protective. Additionally, the workers should be vaccinated against corona virus.
The process of this program implementation
- Training the employees and employer
- Collecting COVID-19 information data
- Analyzing the trend of infection spread and presentation of the result to the committee.
- Formulating action plans and policies according to the data output.
Program Implementation Plan
Printed CDC website protocol, an instructor guide, NIEHS training program, and ICAT tools are supplementary materials to be provided during the training.
The links to additional materials are as follows;
- Strategic Priority IPC Activities for Containment and Prevention
- Identification of Healthcare Workers and Inpatients with Suspected COVID-19
- Management of Visitors to Healthcare Facilities
- Interim Operational Considerations for Public Health Management of Healthcare Workers Exposed to or Infected with COVID-19
- Operational Considerations in Outpatient Facilities
This infection control and training program should protect hospital staff from corona virus.
The infection and control committee have a mandate of reviewing covid-19 infections rates frequently. They are also required to plan and audit program implementation.
The head of departments are the ones to find out whether all employees adhere to the regulations, rules, and set policies.
Chirico, F., Nucera, G., & Magnavita, N. (2020). COVID-19: Protecting healthcare workers is a priority. Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, 41(9), 1117-1117. Web.
Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). (2020). NIEHS COVID-19 response training tool: Protecting yourself from COVID -19 in the workplace. Author.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2020). Characteristics of health care personnel with COVID-19. Web.
Ng, K., Poon, B. H., Kiat Puar, T. H., Shan Quah, J. L., Loh, W. J., Wong, Y. J., & Raghuram, J. (2020). COVID-19 and the risk to health care workers: A case report. Annals of Internal Medicine,172 (11), 766-767. Web.