Infection Control in the Home
Infection is a major risk of IV therapy, good hand washing technique and other infection control measures must be practiced.
Germs can be found in all areas of your home such as tabletops, bathrooms, food and pets. Germs can also be found in the air and on your skin, especially your hands.
1. The room should be clean.
2. The work or preparation space should be in an area that will not be frequented by friends, children or pets.
3. Plan ahead in order to avoid interruptions during preparation and infusion of the IV solutions.
4. An area should be reserved for the organization and storage of supplies that will be needed to administer the IV solutions.
5. This area should preferably be a flat, smooth surface that can be cleaned easily and covered with a clean towel.
6. The preparation site should be one that can be maintained throughout the entire course of the therapy.
7. The area must have adequate light for all administration times, both day and night.
Most of the germs that live in the air or on your skin will not hurt you. There are a number of areas in the human body where it is normal to find bacteria (germs). The skin bacteria, which are not harmful to the body as long as they remain on the skin. Your mouth, stomach and intestines contain many bacteria, which actually help to digest certain foods. However, most of the areas inside your body are sterile, that is, free of bacteria. If bacteria get into one of these areas, an infection may occur. Bacteria may enter your body from needles, tubings, dressings or intravenous solutions. One way to prevent infection is by using what we call “aseptic technique”.
What Is Aseptic Technique?
Aseptic technique is a method of performing procedures that prevent bacteria from getting into your supplies, solutions, or medications. Aseptic technique is very important and includes hand washing, preparing your work area, and carefully handling supplies, equipment and medications. Remember, practicing aseptic technique is necessary to prevent contamination and infection.
Hand washing is the single most important measure in the prevention of infection.
1. Thorough hand washing is one of the most important procedures you must follow when administering your IV medications and/or fluids or when caring for your catheter.
2. Your hands are considered contaminated with invisible germs. To decrease the number of germs on your hands you must use the recommended hand washing technique that is described below:
- When you are ready to administer your medication, you should first wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water, drying with a clean paper towel.
- Gather and assemble your supplies in a clean area.This can be a clean kitchen counter which you have sanitized or placed clean paper towels.
- At this point, you will use antiseptic hand gel provided with your supplies as directed to sanitize your hands before administering your medication.
- When you are finished administering your medication, wash your hands again thoroughly with soap and water, drying them with a clean paper towel.
Universal Precautions for Caregivers
Universal precautions are steps taken to prevent the spread of infection. Among these are good hand washing and wearing gloves and gowns, if appropriate.
Nurses and family members who care for patients receiving home intravenous therapies should be careful when handling blood and body fluids. Examples of body fluids are: Blood, Saliva, Mucus, Urine, Stool, Vomit, Semen, Vaginal Secretions & Wound Drainage
Precautions When Caring For Patients
- While caring for the patient or handling patient equipment, do not touch your face or mouth.
- Wear disposable gloves when in direct contact with any of the patient’s body fluids or blood.
- Wear gloves when handling patient supplies, which have been contaminated with patient’s blood or body fluid.
- Wear a disposable gown when clothing is likely to be in contact with the patient’s body secretions.
- Use a mask if recommended by your homecare nurse.
- Dispose of soiled tissues, dressings, bandages, gloves, gowns, masks, and used supplies in a sealed plastic bag.
- Use household bleach to clean spills and wash soiled clothes.
- DO NOT RECAP needles. Do not attempt to bend or break needles since you may accidentally stick yourself.
- Dispose of needles only in the container provided.
- Wash your hands when you are through. At this point, you may use lotion to prevent dry skin.