PATHOGENIC ORGANISM CONTROL
LEARNING OBJECTIVE: Recall medical asepsis principles and recognize medical asepsis practices.
All health care, regardless of who provides it or where it is provided, must be directed toward maintaining, promoting, and restoring health. Because of this goal, all persons seeking assistance in a healthcare facility must be protected from additional injury, disease, or infection. Adherence to good safety principles and practices protects a patient from personal injury. Additionally, attention to personal and environmental hygiene not only protects against further injury, but also constitutes the first step in controlling the presence, growth, and spread of pathogenic organisms. The discussion that follows addresses infection control, particularly in the context of medical and surgical aseptic practices.
Reservoir of Infectious Agents
PORTAL OF EXIT.-The portal of exit is the avenue by which the infectious agent leaves its reservoir. When the reservoir is man, these avenues include various body systems (such as respiratory, intestinal, and genitourinary tracts) and open lesions.
MODE OF TRANSMISSION.-The mode of transmission is the mechanism by which the infectious agent is transmitted from its reservoir to a susceptible being (host). Air, water, food, dust, dirt, insects, inanimate objects, and other persons are examples of modes of transmission.
PORTALOFENTRY.-The portal of entry is the avenue by which the infectious agent enters the susceptible host. In man, these portals correspond to the exit route avenues, including the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts, through a break in the skin, or by direct infection of the mucous membrane.
SUSCEPTIBLE HOST.-The susceptible host is man or another living organism that affords an infectious agent nourishment or protection to survive and multiply.
Removal or control of any one component in the above chain of events will control the infectious process.
Two Basic Medical Asepsis Practices
HAND WASHING.-The following are some common instances when provider hand washing is imperative:
· Before and after each patient contact
All linen, whether clean or used, must never be held against one's clothing or placed on the floor. The floors of a healthcare facility are considered to be grossly contaminated, and, thus, any article coming in contact with the floor will also be contaminated. Place all dirty linen in appropriate laundry bags. Linen from patients having infectious or communicable diseases must be handled in a special manner.
· be epidemiologically sound;
· contain adequate precautions for infections transmitted by airborne
droplets and other routes of
CONCURRENT DISINFECTION.- Concurrent disinfection consists of the daily measures taken to control the spread of pathogenic organisms while the patient is still considered infectious.
TERMINAL DISINFECTION.-Terminal disinfection consists of those measures taken to destroy pathogenic organisms remaining after the patient is discharged from isolation. There are a variety of chemical and physical means used to disinfect supplies, equipment, and environmental areas, and each facility will determine its own protocols based on the recommendation of an Infection Control Committee.