Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines: www.cdc.gov
Precautions establish safe practices to protect healthcare workers. Universal Precautions were established in 1988 to prevent the spread of deadly blood-borne pathogens. Standard Precautions Developed in 1996, promote the use of personal protective equipment (e.g. gloves, gowns, masks, and eyewear) for contact with all body fluids (except sweat). Infected people often have no symptoms and may not know they are infected. Therefore, consider yourself at risk from everyone. Follow infection control practices and procedures at the facility where you work. Precautions reduce the risk of spreading germs from person to person.
Provide quality care for all clients, and use precautions with each person, all used needles, and all body fluids.
Assume all blood, body fluids, and needles are potentially infectious. Gloves must be worn at all times when handling these materials. Always wash your hands before and after wearing gloves.
Personal Protective Equipment
Gloves, gowns, aprons, masks, and protective eyewear are necessary whenever you might be exposed to blood or body fluids, non-intact skin, and mucous membranes (mouth, nose, eyes, genital area). Personal protective equipment (PPE) is a barrier between you and possible sources of infection.
Gloves reduce the risk of spreading infection. Always wear disposable gloves whenever you have contact with any of the following:
- bleeding or open wounds (skin rashes, broken skin, pressure ulcers);
- other body fluids, including blood;
- Soiled linen.
Follow these guidelines for using gloves:
- Check for cracks, punctures, tears, or discoloration, and discard if damaged.
- Check for proper fit; avoid wrinkles.
- Wash your hands before putting on gloves.
- Pull gloves over gown cuffs if a gown 1sworn.
Change gloves whenever they become soiled to avoid spreading infection from one part of the body to another. Dispose of gloves after each resident contact.
To remove gloves, use one gloved hand lo grasp the other glove near the wrist and peel off the glove, pulling it inside-out. Hold it in the gloved hand. Slide fingers from the bare hand under the wrist of the other glove, peel off, creating a bag for both gloves. Dispose in the designated bin for infectious waste, and wash your hands.
Face masks may be required to protect residents, workers, and visitors from infection caused by air borne pathogens or exposure to blood and body fluids. Wash your hands before touching the mask. Pick up the mask by the straps, and avoid touching the part that covers your nose and mouth.
Masks should be changed frequently and anytime they become damp or wet. Dispose of used masks immediately in the appropriate waste container, and wash your hands.
Gowns are effective barriers to infection whenever you have direct contact with infectious material or body fluids. Roll your sleeves above your elbows, and wash your hands before putting on a gown.
Before removing the gown, remove and dispose of the gloves. Pull the gown away from neck and shoulders. Holding the gown away from you, turn it inward, keeping it inside out. Place the gown in the appropriate container, and wash your hands.
Patients/clients with highly transmissible diseases are sometimes isolated (set apart) to protect others from infection. In addition to using Standard Precautions, you may be instructed to follow transmission-based precautions–contact, droplet, and airborne precautions – that vary according to the specific disease and how the pathogens are transmitted. Sometimes isolation is ordered for clients who cannot fight infection due to age, illness, or medications.
Doctors order isolation precautions. Instructions are generally posted on the door of isolation rooms. The instructions may direct all visitors to report to the nurses’ station before entering the room. Or, the signs may specify that personal protective equipment – gowns, masks, and gloves – is required each time anyone enters the room.
PERSONAL CARE WORKERS WILL NOT ORDINARILY BE ASSIGNED TO CLIENTS WHOSE CARE REQUIRES THE USE OF MASKS, GOGGLES, OR OTHER PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT.