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    The 5 most common infection control breaches

    These mistakes are made all too often, and could be putting you, your staff and your patients at harm.

    Infection control breaches come in all shapes and sizes – some are subtle and might not be readily apparent, while others are glaringly obvious. Some of the most common breaches are also some of the easiest to avoid.

    Being aware of these common problems can save you, your staff and your patients from harm.

    Hand hygiene

    In 1847, Dr. Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis demonstrated the importance of handwashing to infection control. Surprisingly, nearly 171 years later, one of the biggest sources of infection control breaches still remains improper hand hygiene.

    “We know that hand hygiene is the number one way to prevent the spread of infection,” Joyce Moore, RDH, an infection control consultant and clinical instructor at Bristol Community College in Fall River, Mass. says. “Despite having policies in place to prevent infection, a study was done by APIC showing that staff at outpatient care facilities failed to follow recommendations for hand hygiene 37 percent of the time. That’s astounding, because it is such an easy thing to do. Most facilities don’t have an issue with having handwashing areas.”

    Trending article: 7 ways poor infection control can endanger your practice

    Washing handsMoore says that the main culprits to proper hand hygiene are time and comfort.

    “I think people are just moving really quickly through their day,” she says. “You might have a doctor going from exam room to exam room to check their hygiene patients and they’re gloving and ungloving. Studies have shown that people who work in healthcare can wash their hands up to 100 times a day. And I think a lot of times people think, ‘My hands are clean, because I have gloves on.’ But, we know gloves aren’t a substitute for handwashing.

    “In the winter, of course, it can be difficult to comply if your hands are dried and cracking,” she continues. “Hand hygiene is paramount and taking care of your hands in a way that allows you to wash them without issues, whether it be drying and cracking, are things you need to manage.”

    Related reading: 5 benefits of good infection control

    If the product us disagreeable, talk to whoever is in charge of purchasing to find a suitable substitute.

    “You have to be able to go to the person in charge at your office and say, ‘This is an issue and we need to have an alternative,’” she says. “In some practices, you might have the option of bringing your own product in. And that’s okay. Lotions are a good choice, but they need to be the right lotion. And what I mean by that, is some lotions will compromise the gloves, even after you’ve used it on your hands and you’ve glowed up.”

    Next: The importance of handpiece sterilization...


    Robert Elsenpeter
    Robert Elsenpeter is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to Dental Products Report and Digital Esthetics. He is also the author ...


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