5 Steps to Help Prevent the Spread of Disease in a Surgery Center
The recent Ebola breakout shocked the medical world. Not only because of the sheer number of people infected, but by the fact that medical personnel became infected as well. Improper handling of biological waste is one way in which any type of infection can be spread to workers in a surgery center.
The modern acceptance of outpatient surgeries has led to an added responsibility in small surgery centers. In order to help prevent the spread of an infectious disease found inside of organs, human tissue and blood being removed at a surgery center, these 5 steps should be followed at all times:
- Proper Hygiene and Personal Protective Equipment – Surgery center workers who are going to be exposed to infectious disease should be outfitted in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when performing procedures on patients. This includes the use of gloves, masks and special gowns that are disposed of after use. Removing these protective items must be done in a way that does not spread biological waste elements onto other clothing. Workers should also wash their hands with soap and water immediately after removing PPE in order to reduce the risk of spreading an infection.
- Ongoing Training of Staff – The continual reminder to surgery center employees about the importance of infection control is critical to mitigate the risk. Hold special training classes and keep surgeons informed of any new practices and policies that are put into place to better manage potentially infectious biological and pathological waste disposal.
- Partnering With a Reputable Medical Waste Disposal Company – The prompt removal of infectious biological waste will reduce the risk of contamination to workers in your surgery center. Enlist the help of a medical waste removal company that allows for a flexible schedule of pick-ups to ensure that you do not accumulate large amounts of infectious waste in your facility’s storage areas.
- Be Able to Identify the Different Categories of Medical Waste – A surgery center produces basic medical waste such as soiled linens, dressing and sharps, but you could also be generating pathological waste. Pathological waste includes organs, tissue, body parts and the products of conception. Talk with your disposal provider to enact a strategy for the safe and compliant removal of these items from your surgery center.
- Keep Biological Waste Away from Patient Areas – To avoid the spread of infection, biological waste should be contained in a receptacle that is clearly marked for its special purpose. Since non-medical individuals like patients will not understand the significance, it is important that these containers not be easily accessible in areas where patients are. To further reduce the risk of accidental contamination, the outsides of these containers should be kept impeccably clean at all times.