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Infection control remains one of the most important aspects of any modern healthcare facility. The high hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) incidence rates and the presence of multiple negative outcomes demonstrate the need for an effective measure that will help to minimize the threat and ensure patients’ recovery. A UK-based survey suggests that 6.4% of inpatients at acute care hospitals acquire HAIs, with pneumonia (22.8%), urinary tract infections (17.2%), and surgical site infections (15.7%) accounting for the majority of the healthcare-associated infections (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, 2016). Around 4 million people in Europe acquire HAIs and 37,000 die, as a result, each year (UK Government, 2016). For this reason, the existing Guidelines on Infection Control Practice in the Clinic Settings of the Department of Health (2017) state that the implementation of these practices is the key to positive outcomes and patient satisfaction. The existence of infection control coordinators emphasizes the unique role that this issue plays in a modern healthcare setting as their major task is to gradually increase the level of awareness surrounding the discussed problem (Steinkuller, Harris, Vigil, & Ostrosky-Zeichner, 2018). Some effective methods offered by the guidelines include hand hygiene, personal protective equipment, and other methods that can be helpful in eliminating infection risk.
These measures are introduced to reduce the incidence of the most common types of HAIs which are a catheter-associated urinary infection (CAUTI), central line-associated bloodstream infection, surgical site infection, and ventilator-associated event (ECDC, 2013). The existence of these health risks significantly deteriorates the quality of patients’ lives and outcomes. Consequently, it is critical to adhere to the proposed regulations and guarantee that no undesired effects will emerge.
A case study is described to illustrate the increased importance of the existing guidelines and regulations related to disease prevention. The setting is an outpatient clinic with the case discussed as a personal experience by the author of this paper who is a senior RN. After surgical intervention, the patient feels good and gradually recovers. He visits a doctor to determine future treatment and dietary recommendations. However, in three days his physical state worsens, and he has a fever. Additional diagnosing discovers that he has influenza, which complicates the surgery recovery and weakens the immune system of the patient. In three days, the patient acquired complications at the surgical site as a result of HAI. The in-depth analysis of the case emphasizes that the major factor of this incident was the disregard of the basic rules of prevention. A nurse responsible for the provision of care to the patient was not informed about the cough etiquette and how it can impact patients with various complications after surgeries (“Preparedness plan for an influenza pandemic,” 2014). Additionally, there was no infection control coordinator responsible for the explanation of basic rules and measures that should be used by health specialists with the primary aim to avoid deterioration of the situation.
Reflecting on the given case, it is possible to say that it helps to acquire important information about the role infection disease prevention plays in the modern healthcare setting. The high levels of HAIs among various patients mean that health workers should be especially careful while working with clients in different states (Damani, 2004). For instance, observation of simple cough etiquette, protection tools, and hand hygiene could help to save patients with weak immune systems or others from being infected by influenza.
Moreover, speaking about clinical decisions and other issues related to the problematic situation, one should consider the unique importance of prevention and infection control measures regarding the current complex situation in the given sphere. For instance, the introduction of a hand-hygiene monitoring tool will help to significantly reduce the threat associated with the transmission of various diseases among health workers and patients (Qiao, Huang, Zong, & Yin, 2018). At the same time, additional training preconditioning cough etiquette and provision of information about other measures can also help to achieve better outcomes among workers of the health unit.
Unfortunately, in the given case and many other situations, the lack of resources, poor guidelines, and inappropriate infrastructure became the main causes for the emergence of the problem and the development of severe consequences. In general, statistics show that these three aspects critically deteriorate outcomes in many hospitals and increase incidence rates of HAIs (Alp, Leblebicioglu, Doganay, & Voss, 2011). The use of effective equipment to improve monitoring and prevention practices and continuous training will help to achieve better results.
In such a way, the possible solutions for better infection control should include the creation of new guidelines and the introduction of education and training programs for health workers. The primary goal of these courses is to increase the level of knowledge about HAIs, their major causes, and how they are transmitted in hospitals. Moreover, research shows that the use of this tool remains a potent approach to increasing the effectiveness of existing infection control methods (Kilpatrick, Prieto, & Wiggelsworth, 2008).
The information mentioned above and findings formulated after analyzing the course are important for my future career and achievement of desired goals. First of all, after the completion of the Infection Control Practice course, I will continue my education in the sphere and pursue an advanced practice control certification. That is why the improved understanding of relevant prevention and control practices is critically important for the achievement of success and becoming a qualified specialist. Moreover, the experience generated through the analysis of appropriate cases is fundamental to avoid the same mistakes in my workplace and promote patients’ recovery.
Altogether, the modern healthcare industry faces a serious problem of HAIs and their high prevalence despite significant measures being taken. Therefore, infection control and prevention are top priorities for health providers and agencies as an effective approach to improving the situation and minimizing the risk of being infected by other diseases that can be found in healthcare settings. It should be given attention to avoid further deterioration of the situation.
Alp, E., Leblebicioglu, H., Doganay, M., & Voss, A. (2011). Infection control practice in countries with limited resources. Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials, 10(36), 1-4.
Damani, N. (2004). Manual of infection control procedures (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Guidelines on infection control practice in the clinic settings of department of health. (2017). Web.
ECDC. (2013). Core competencies for infection control and hospital hygiene professionals in the European Union. Web.
Kilpatrick, C., Prieto, J., & Wiggelsworth, N. (2008). Single room isolation to prevent the transmission of infection: Development of a patient journey tool to support safe practice. British Journal of Infection Control, 9(6), 19-25.
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National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. (2016). Healthcare-associated infections. Web.
Preparedness plan for influenza pandemic. (2014). Web.
Qiao, F., Huang, W., Zong, Z., & Yin, W. (2018). Infection prevention and control in outpatient settings in China—Structure, resources, and basic practices. American Journal of Infection Control, 46, 802-807.
Steinkuller, F., Harris, K., Vigil, K., & Ostrosky-Zeichner, L. (2018). Outpatient infection prevention: A practical primer. Open Forum Infectious Diseases, 5(5), 1-8.
UK Government. (2016). Healthcare associated infections (HAI): Point prevalence survey, England. Web.