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Safety Counts! a newsletter highlighting safety at Hallmark Health System

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Safety Counts October 2014 - Download entire PDF by clicking here. 

 
Vol 2, No. 9, October 2014
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Going back to basics prevents the spread of infectious diseases

At Hallmark Health System (HHS), education about preventing infectious diseases begins as soon as an employee is hired. And it continues on a daily basis. Preventing the spread of infectious diseases is particularly important during the fall and winter flu season and in summer and fall when enteroviruses are prominent. But media coverage of infectious diseases has heightened public awareness around preventing their spread year round.

HHS employs four main tactics to rein in infectious diseases:InfecControl-hand wash

Protocols. HHS adheres to the standard precautions protocol required by regulatory agencies. Standard precautions are based on the situation. “The employee assesses the task at hand and chooses protective equipment that fits the task,” said Elaine Boerger, RN, infection control nurse. “Interacting with a patient who is coughing, for example, dictates that the employee put on a mask.” The key to success with standard precautions is that “we use them with every patient, every time, with every interaction.” This includes hand hygiene, a simple yet highly effective way to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.

Education. Education begins at employee orientation and is particularly important for nurses, housekeepers and others who come into repeated contact with patients. Patients receive education as well, including printed materials specific to them. Signage around the hospital reminds visitors of proper infection control etiquette, such as not visiting if sick.

Vaccination. In addition to mandatory flu vaccines for staff, HHS offers combined Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis (Tdap), hepatitis B and chickenpox vaccines to employees who request them.

Surveillance. Daily rounds on inpatient floors ensure that staff adhere to protocols and practice good hand hygiene, and monthly reports are sent to each nursing floor. “All these tactics allow us to protect our staff and our patients at the same time,” said Boerger.

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