It’s reassuring to know that your hospital is taking extra steps to keep you safe. The risk of infection can be reduced with targeted strategies to stop the spread of germs. Here are some important preventive measures happening behind the scenes in The Valley Health System.
Cleaning and Disinfecting
Because germs can survive for long periods on hospital surfaces, great care is taken to keep patients’ environment and equipment clean and disinfected, says Spring Valley Hospital’s Manager of Infection Prevention Jennifer Roeder, BSN, RN, CIC. As an extra measure, ultraviolet light disinfection machines may be used to reduce harmful bacteria.
Proactive practices by staff, such as thorough hand hygiene, also play a key role. Each Valley Health System facility has an “Infection Preventionist” who makes sure that everyone is taking the right safety measures.
Tools that Improve Care
What if hospitals could receive a warning of possible problems before they occur? They can within The Valley Health System, thanks to electronic medical records that provide alerts for possible infection.
Another tool supporting better patient care is rapid microbiology testing. This can speed up the diagnosis time for infections, providing results within hours and even minutes.
While extensive safety efforts are being made, germs may still be transmitted while patients are in the hospital, or sometimes they may be incubating in the body before patients arrive for inpatient care.
“If a patient is colonized (which means they carry harmful germs but do not have signs of infection) or has an infection with a multidrug-resistant organism, special measures will be taken to ensure that these types of germs do not spread to other patients,” says Roeder. Isolation precautions may be taken and appropriate antibiotics become a top priority. The focus is on helping everybody get the best and safest care possible.
What Role Can You Play?
The Valley Health System wants you to feel empowered to speak up for your care! If you are a patient, wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer often, and ask healthcare workers and your visitors to do the same. Patients are more at risk for infection when they have an invasive device such as a urinary catheter, are going for surgery or have a surgical incision. Ask your nurse or physician about ways to reduce your risk.
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