Hospitals globally need to ensure that they shift concerns to the concept of risk management. This allows for the identification, evaluation and prioritization of risks within the hospital environment. The process promotes good health among workers and patients by simply providing measures that may be implemented to combat risks that may adversely affect the well being of workers and patients and the public in general.
There are a lot of risks that may be experienced within a hospital setting. Among them is the risk of acquiring infectious disease. Therefore this calls for need of infection control from the perspective of risk management. This course of action will ensure that people will not be vulnerable to acquiring infectious diseases easily. Infection control therefore refers to the processes and procedures that are used to combat the risk of acquiring diseases that threaten the existence of the human race. There are certain basic steps that need to put in place in order to efficiently and effectively handle this issue.
The first step in involves clearly defining the role that each individual in the hospital is required to perform. This begins with the process of job analysis in order to come up withy a job definition and a job description for all the workers in the hospital. The main aim of defining roles is to ensure that each worker becomes accountable of the tasks that they are meant to carry out (Kennamer 2006). The reason behind this is that any exposure to materials that may infectious within the hospital more to workers that any other hospital individuals. They are thus presented with risks always of getting diseases from infections. In order to deal with the aspect of handling materials and equipment within the hospital training of hospital workers is quite of great essence. Training gives workers an opportunity to acquire knowledge and skills that will enable them handle materials and equipment in a safer way. Workers also gain awareness in regards to the agents that may be infectious concerning the handling of materials during the execution of their duties. Examples that may be infectious include body substances from patients and medical supplies that have undergone contamination. In a bid to combat acquiring of diseases workers can take the initiative of making sure all medical equipment are sterilized after every time that they have been used (Kennamer 2006). This reduces chances of being infected since there is the reduction of the opportunities that may involve pathogen transmission to workers.
Research forms quite an integral part within the process of infection control. It is encompassed within the practice of identifying and monitoring risks within the setting of the hospital. The main purpose of this step is to have a list of diseases that are understood to be infectious. This process therefore paves way for the development of approaches that may be used to combat the already identified infectious diseases. The rate at which both patients and workers get exposed to infectious diseases is minimized (Nicas, Nazaroff and Hubbard 2005). Potential sources of the diseases are identified which might include materials that have been contaminated. Monitoring of the risks allows for the reduction of chances and opportunities through the pathogens may be transmitted. Measures such as cleaning of hospital equipments after use and disposing those that cannot be used again in a proper way may be adopted.
Mitigation of risks is another important step that encompasses the aspect of ensuring that opportunities of transmission of agents of infectious diseases are minimized. This process calls for al the workers to carry out their roles in line with accepted standards of handling infectious substances and materials. They are required to apply all their skills and knowledge in the most effective way. With this concepts hospital workers are given the opportunity to ensure that even the patients know about the infectious diseases and how they are transmitted son that they too can minimize chances of acquiring them during their stay in the hospital (Kennamer 2006).
The overall management process regarding infection control need to be analyzed and evaluated. This process is known as monitoring of compliance (Nicas, Nazaroff and Hubbard 2005). Its main aim is to check whether the process of managing the control of the infectious diseases has been effective or not. It also defines whether success has been achieved in regards to measures that have been applied to handle the process of controlling infectious diseases. The risk management specialists therefore are made to understand which areas of measures adopted require to be improved so that the ultimate outcome may be success from the application of efficient and effective procedures to control infections.
At the end of every year there is need for a report to be provided that gives a clear picture of all the activities involving infection control. This is basically the last step where revisions are made and evaluation carried in regards to the activities executed to combat the problem of controlling infections. The overall risk management process and its effectiveness are determined in this step. An analysis is carried out involving the determination of whether the measures implemented to curb the infectious diseases have been a success or not (Miller and Chris 2010). Proper analysis is carried out on the outcomes of the whole process. An outline some of the problems encountered is provided and how they were handled. Also the costs involved during the entire process of managing infection control are presented in the report. The report serves the purpose of future referencing as well as provision of information useful to determine facilitate the determination of which improvements need to be made to enhance processes and approaches of combating diseases that are infectious.
Finding solutions to the problems relating to control of infections is the main aim purpose of infection control specialists. They therefore have to engage themselves in some kind of research involving collection of information and data in regards to infectious diseases that need to controlled. The sanitary condition of the hospital setting is evaluated and analyzed in order to provide an insight on how best to deal with the issue. Information that is acquired is used during the process involved in planning and developing ways to combat the infectious diseases.
In regards to the problem of acquiring infectious diseases other procedures that have been used by other facilities and found to be effective may be applied. Technology has come up with a lot of developments in line with control of risks of infections. Engineering controls are those equipments that are used to isolate workers and patients from the risks of acquiring infectious diseases. A good example is the installation of had washing facilities which ensure that workers and patients are free from the risk of acquiring infectious diseases after coming across materials that are infectious within the hospital setting. Hand washing facilities include clean towels and antiseptic cleansers whose use minimizes exposure to infectious diseases. The overall hygiene for all the individuals within the hospitals environment is also improved.
Surveillance of infections within the hospital environment is of great importance. It allows for the identification of diseases that are seen to be emerging. This therefore gives infection control specialist an opportunity to develop ways and implement measures to deal with the identified infectious diseases. In this process some investigation may be carried out by simply reviewing patient information that clearly defines the state of their health. This information allows for the determination of whether the symptoms in regards to the health of a patient are an indication of an infection or not. Control practitioners are thus able to formulate strategies geared towards controlling the infectious diseases. In order to combat the identified infectious diseases measures are planned, developed and implemented to prevent the spread of the infection.
When there is an outbreak of an infectious disease there is need to ensure that the disease is controlled. This therefore follows the concept of outbreak control. Investigations are executed in regards to the identified infectious disease. The main aim of the investigation is to gather information and data that facilitate the clear determination of the outbreak status. Information gathered include whether the outbreak is from changes relating to the symptom of the patient illness or it is due to contamination during the diagnosis of the patient. Outbreak control provides for the opportunity to develop ways in which further outbreaks may be prevented besides those that are in existence. Also individuals within the hospital are given the opportunity to gain knowledge in regards to outbreak of new diseases. This process shifts concerns in regards to the well being of the public. The public is reassured safety and disruptions to the economic and social well being of the society minimized.
The process of identifying and monitoring risks can be compared to the surveillance process that involves observation of infectious diseases. Both the processes encompasses the aspect of executing a research process which is an activity aimed at gathering information in relation to the infectious diseases. On the other hand investigation process involving outbreak of infectious diseases can also be and compared linked to this processes since the concept of research is also part of it. Research in Investigation of outbreaks involves the detection of the main causes of the occurrence of the disease and how the transmission of pathogens takes place. The ultimate effect is that the approaches allows for the determination from what perspective to combat the infectious diseases.
The health status of Workers, patients and public need to be given attention due to the fact there are a lot of health risks that they get exposed to. In regards to infection control both public and private hospitals need to take the initiative and allocate finances to this process in their annual budgets. Outbreak of infections is an unpredictable occurrence hence the need to have finances in place to facilitate the implementation of measures aimed at combating the diseases. This is a clear indication of how the importance of controlling infections hence a high degree of preparedness is a prerequisite.
Miller and Chris H. (2010). Infection Control and Management of Hazardous Materials; Mosby Elsevier Health Science.
Kennamer M. (2006) Basic Infection Control for Healthcare Providers; Delmar Cengage Learning: New York.
Nicas, Nazaroff and Hubbard A. (2005). “Toward Understanding the Risk of Secondary Airborne Infection: Emission of Respirable Pathogens”. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene.