Blood borne pathogens can be spread via different routes and sources. Universal precautions training will safeguard you against these known sources as well as some of the unknown sources. Universal precautions include certain easy precautionary steps that you need to take to protect yourself and others from communicable diseases such as Hepatitis B and HIV.
Universal precautions are very simple and effectual ways to stop transmission of the bacteria and virus that cause infectious disease. Various protective clothing should be worn all the time by all health care professionals. Special measures need to be taken by the individuals working with blood and other body fluids.
There are 5 basic things you need to know about Universal Precautions training:
• If you are able to curb the spread of blood borne pathogens then the transmission of infectious diseases can be prevented. The Occupational Safety and Health Information (OSHA) gives guidelines that should be followed by all healthcare and hospital employees who deal with blood and other body fluids.
• Every healthcare facility and other organization will need to assess all the activities that involve their employees handling blood and other body fluids in order to determine the risks related with them. This will enable the organizations to take proper precautions based on the various activities performed.
• All health care facilities need to provide a safe environment for their employees. High standards of hygiene need to be maintained throughout the facility. Simple measures like hand washing prior to and after activities should be followed strictly. Implementation of these simple guidelines will serve to provide the safe environment a healthcare organization needs.
• Depending on the risks involved in the different activities, protective gear need to be chosen by the individual. Aprons, face masks, caps, gloves, face shields and eye shields are the protective equipments that are used. Regular checks need to be made to see if the protective gear is damaged. If so, they need to be replaced at once.
• The specific areas where activities relating to blood and body fluid handling are performed require cleaning and washing regularly. All the surfaces and instruments need to be washed with disinfectant. Spread of infection can be avoided by doing this.
All health care employees should be provided proper training about universal precautions guidelines. This will prevent them and others from being susceptible to any infectious disease. Equipments that are reused need to be sterilized after use. In case of single use equipments strict measures should be followed to discard them properly. This can be done by following by practicing the precautions laid down by OSHA.
Various controls have to be implemented to ensure safety at the work place. Simple universal precautions need to be followed while attending all the patients. This will guarantee safety to both the patients and the employees. When proper precautions are not followed various communicable diseases will spread. If the guidelines stipulated by OSHA are followed strictly, the chances of spread of infections will be greatly reduced.
Infection control training literally begins at home. We have our parents teaching us to use handkerchiefs to cover our mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing. We are also taught the importance of wearing clean clothes and keeping clean habits by bathing everyday, sometimes even twice a day. These are basic rules for life to make sure we can keep infections at bay.
Even though we follow these, sometimes we catch an infection and fall ill. A germ that grows on or in a person leads to an illness, this is called an infection. Sometimes we can cure them at home and sometimes we need a hospital or a medical unit. Walking into a hospital gives you a feeling of safety and security; mostly because the environment is so clean and sterile. You as a patient or as a visitor can do a few things to ensure infection control.
• Hand hygiene: Wash and wash again if need be. Running water, soap and alcoholic gel, make sure there is enough around for you to feel good. Ensure that your visitors too wash their hands. Feel free to ask the hospital staff if they have washed their hands before checking the patient.
• In case you are admitting someone in a hospital or a medical unit, keep a check on allergies or medicines that they could have reactions to. If you have the time, on the way to the hospital, call them and tell them about the patient's problem. They will be in a better position to help and react.
• Keep the area around you clean. Throw away used cups, tissues or left-over food. Make sure a child's toys are kept in the individual storage area provided. The Infection Control team at the hospital or medical unit work very hard to keep it pristine clean; help them by doing your bit. In case there is ever a chance that you find the area around the patient untidy or dirty, immediately speak to the senior nurses.
• In case an area is being kept under close inspection due to an outbreak of an infection, keep your movements at a minimal. Make sure your visitors are also warned about the outbreak when they come in.
• Take a look at the kind of equipment being used. Is it clean? Hopefully your answer should be yes. Make sure needles are freshly opened out of their packaging and are discarded after one use.
• Mention to the authorities if the patient has any kind of bloodborne disease, such as HIV. It will not make a difference to the quality of treatment. But it will ensure than the staff don't let that illness spread.
Infection control systems are in place is almost all hospitals or medical units. It is essential that we know a few basics about infection control. This is in the interest of the larger good of people. If you can take a certified course in it, that fantastic! Until then keep the above points in mind and stay well.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 was created to protect the medical interests of the citizens of United States. The act protects the medical insurance, personal information and medical information of the consumers. It empowers the consumers by giving them the right to access their own medical records, update their personal details and in case of suspected theft of data or misuses; they may also lodge a complaint with the authorities. Data theft under the HIPAA is a serious offense. Read below to find out how you can reduce the risk of personal and medical data theft.
• Keep yourself educated. Reading and knowing all that you can learn about the HIPAA is the key to preventing theft of information. Read all the notices and circulations and updates that are provided.
• Discuss with your provider. Talk to your insurance provider regarding your concerns about confidentiality and privacy. Understand how your insurance provider handles privacy issues.
• Be a good consumer. As a consumer, you must try and get the best insurance deal with a assured privacy deal for yourself and your family. But as a consumer, it is also important to be responsible. Pay your bills on time and be a good and a safe consumer.
• Read notices with care. Authorizations, notifications and circulars will be periodically sent to you. Read all of them thoroughly and sign on authorizations only if you are convinced that they will benefit you. Make sure the authorization you are about to sign does not put your personal information in jeopardy.
• You have the right to amend or make copies of your medical data. HIPAA allows you to access your medical and personal records at your will. You are also allowed to make copies for your own records. You can also amend your data and make corrections if some data is incorrect. Exercise this right you have.
• Update your personal medical record. Maintain a personal record of your health. Include all documents and papers related to you health like copies of your health checkups, doctor's records, diet records and exercise records.
• Communicate the way you feel more secure and comfortable. The covered entities can communicate through different channels, emails, telephone or post. Pick the way you feel most comfortable and secure.
• Go to the authorities if you suspect foul play. If you feel that your privacy rights have been violated or your data may have been misused, go to the authorities. HIPAA has provisions through which you can register your complaint.
• Contribute to strengthening the laws if you can. The Legislature always welcomes your suggestions to make the act a stronger one. Contact your representatives if you have suggestions.
• When you complain, it benefits everyone. When you lodge a formal complaint with the authorities, you are educating everyone, your fellow citizens, your lawmakers and the bureaucracy that you have been violated. It will only help in making the law stronger and more beneficial.
HIPAA helps you safeguard your health interests with some effort from your end. Be a good consumer and an alert citizen to enjoy the benefits.