We all talk about the risk of catching a health care-associated infection. The threat is prevailing, but with the right protective equipment, costly and unpleasant infections can be prevented.
Every year, more than 5.8 million people are affected by health care associated infections (HAIs) in Europe and the US. These infections do not only affect patients. Visitors as well as health care professionals and their families are also at risk of contracting infections if protective wear is not used or used correctly.
Protective wear can be defined as all types of protective equipment used in health care; from gloves and masks to shoe covers, aprons, and scrub suits. Common to these are their ability to protect against cross-contamination.
One of the daily challenges met by health care professional is how and when to use the right types protective wear. Do you wear a medical mask for norovirus? Do you use an apron, or is an isolation gown better? The right answers to these questions are no simple matter and depend on the task at hand as well as local hygiene guidelines.
In addition, you must pay attention to the way protective equipment is put on and taken off. Correct and effective disposal after use is crucial for your own safety and to prevent cross-contamination. Especially undressing from protective wear demands extra attention.
Protective wear can be divided into two categories; single-use and washable. Both have advantages in health care, however, when it comes to hygiene and infection prevention, single-use is the preferred choice.
There are several reasons why single-use should be your number one choice:
For more information on single-use vs. washable clothing see the whitepaper; Exploring single-use hospital clothing – What are the pros and cons?
Whether a patient is admitted in the hospital, is resident at a nursing home or otherwise in contact with the health care system, it is of great importance that the surrounding environment is safe and hygienic. This can be ensured through correct use of protective equipment.
Gowns and aprons are suitable in many situations, both in daily care and in situations that involve direct contact with mucous membranes, body fluids, non-intact skin and as protection against liquids and splashes. For instance used for incontinence care and wound care.
Shoe covers are commonly used in hospitals, but also essential to not transmit microbes from room to room in health care institutions – for instance during an outbreak, or in situations where the floor is contaminated with body fluids.
One of the many ways to protect yourself and others against infections is to use a face mask. Face masks are either categorized as medical face masks, respiratory face masks or combined medical and respiratory masks.
Medical face masks are used to protect patients from transmittable microbes from the health care professional’s nose and mouth, as well as it can protect the wearer from potentially contaminated liquids in specific situations. The medical face mask can also be worn by patients to reduce spread of infections, for instance during outbreaks. On the other hand, respiratory masks protect the wearer from both solid and liquid particles.
New combined medical and respiratory masks are useful in health care environments where both patients and health care professionals need to be protected.
In order to choose the right type of mask for optimal protection, always consult your national hygiene guidelines.
Single-use bed linen, blankets, and duvets are used to obtain clean and safe patient care. The products have the same abilities as traditional washable products and can be used in many different situations; pre, during and post operations or examinations, or in situations where patients simply need to be kept warm and comfortable.
The products are comfortable for the patient and can easily be discarded after use, which contributes to maintaining a clean and hygienic environment and help reduce the risk of infections and cross-contamination.
Abena has introduced a new range of single-use scrub suits, SoftComfort, that represent a unique opportunity to raise the hygiene standards and reduce the risk of health care-associated infections.
The scrub suits are made from a special type of material with a textile-like feel due to the special 3D embossment, which makes the clothes incredibly soft, breathable and comfortable to wear. The scrub suits are tested according to the clean air suits requirements under standard EN13795 and can be used in high-hygienic areas, such as the OR. The scrub suits have a high level of resistance to microbial penetration and a low level of linting (particle release).
With these new SoftComfort Scrub Suits, health care professionals are able to wear a comfortable, fresh and clean set of clothes every day.
Besides contributing to infection prevention and cross-contamination, SoftComfort scrub suits can help reduce washing and distribution costs in hospitals and health care institutions.