Though winter may be nearing the end, there are still many opportunities to be exposed to cold and flu. Healthcare facilities are particularly vulnerable to illness and this vulnerability lasts all year long. As a healthcare facility, you may be dealing with patients who could suffer significant adverse effects from getting sick.
To prevent the spread of germs, there are a few things you can do now to take control. Here are a few fast and easy ways to get started.
1. Make Hand Sanitizer Readily Available
Apart from placing hand sanitizer on tables and in bathrooms, consider positioning standing sanitizers and dispensers throughout the facility. The more readily available hand sanitizers are, the more likely people are to use them. Try to put these hand sanitizers in high traffic areas, like halls; or areas where people tend to congregate, like waiting rooms and break rooms. Add a sign to the sanitizers to indicate the health benefits of using them. Automatically dispensing sanitizers are the most effective, as they are touchless. Pump sanitizers still require that people touch them.
2. Separate Your Waiting Areas
Separate waiting rooms for those who are well and those who are ill can prevent illness from spreading. No one wants to go in for a routine issue only to find that they've acquired a different illness altogether. For a single room waiting room, you can use dividers to minimize risk. Make sure people aren't packed together in the waiting room, either, as this can increase the risk that patients could make each other sick. Have the waiting rooms or divisions clearly marked to cut down on confusion.
3. Frequently Wipe Down Common Areas
At the end of each day, use sanitizing fluid to wipe down common areas, in addition to items that are used by multiple people. Pens, tablets, clipboards, and other communal products are likely to become hotbeds for germs and should always be cleaned. When it's possible, items that are antibacterial in nature should be used. Copper door knobs are an excellent example of an antibacterial product that can reduce the chances of illness spreading even without regular cleaning. When possible, shared items should be reduced; it's best if employees keep control of their own pens for themselves, for instance.
4. Provide Face Masks and Gloves
Place face masks and gloves in an area where they are accessible to patients and employees. Employees should be encouraged to wear masks and gloves whenever they feel it is prudent, while patients should be directed to use them as needed. Masks can do a lot to stop the spread of airborne disease, and disposable gloves should be used frequently when interacting with patients.
5. Encourage Healthier Habits
Handwashing signs can remind employees and patients alike to wash their hands, while posters can promote other healthy habits. Consider putting up posters that show the proper way to cough or sneeze in public, the symptoms and signs of illness, or an assortment of ways that patients can avoid getting ill. Further, make sure to provide things like tissues within common areas, to make sure that they are available when they're needed.
6. Install a Humidifier and Air Purifier
Buy a humidifier, which has been shown to help disinfect the air while also making people more comfortable during the dry season. There are humidifiers which additionally include air purifiers, which can be used to remove a significant portion of the allergens and bacteria within the air. Cleaning the air will reduce airborne disease.
High humidity doesn't just benefit the spread of disease but can also improve dry, cracked skin, which can be prone to infection. While patients who are in and out may not be affected by humidity in the clinic, employees can, and it's important to consider their health as well.
Look for something that has a HEPA air filter if you're particularly concerned about air quality, as these are air filters that have gone through a regulatory process to meet quality standards.
By following the above tips, you can reduce the chances of illness running rampant around your healthcare facility. With better health management, you can improve the health of your patients and lower the overall risk to both patients and employees.