In addition to being more proactive, Allen points to
the benefits of consistent reminders that keep OR staff
focused on the significance of proper practices and their
long-term impact on both costs and care. “There’s turnover, equipment changes, new hygiene products and just
the hecticness of the environment, so it never hurts to
keep reminding people of the right way to use new processes or products,” she states.
Investing in the time and resources necessary to keep
proper infection control policies top of mind with OR
staff not only provides patient care benefits. “We can
also show an ROI by identifying economic benefits,”
offers Allen. “Patients are aware of ratings from the
CDC, which could impact where they have an elective
procedure performed. Senior management teams are also
focused on infection prevention to help avoid insurance
payment penalties, shorten patient stays and improve outcomes.” All of these elements help improve overall financial performance while enhancing standards of care.
The Right Investments – For Staff
In addition to training and processes, healthcare facili-
ties also need to make good decisions when selecting
products focused on patient care, as well as personal
protective equipment (PPE) for OR personnel. Some
basic things to consider when purchasing these products
• Heat-sealed seams can help prevent or at least mini-
mize fluid contamination.
• Determine what type of disinfectant works the best for
• Ensure that soiled garments and material can be disposed of properly at your
facility to prevent cross contamination.
• Work to develop a familiarity with the
equipment being used or considered
for purchase, and keep the lines of
communication open with vendors in
staying knowledgeable of upgrades and
• Embrace how different procedures present unique infection control challenges,
and procure infection control products
• Know and understand product differences before purchasing.
“It is important to understand the
product being used,” adds Dutton. “For
example, a product that on the surface
appears more expensive may in the long run save money.
Read the label and understand that if the product says it
has a kill time of one minute for TB but takes 10 minutes
to kill MRSA, the product needs to be left on the surface
longer. If the steps are not followed properly, no disinfec-
tion is occurring.
“A common error is the fact that the surface must stay
wet for the whole time stated in the directions (based
on what you are trying to kill) and if the product does
evaporate you must start all over or monitor the area and
keep applying more disinfectant. An example would be
TB for two minutes and MRSA for three minutes. So the
product would need to stay on the surface, wet for three
minutes to properly disinfect TB and MRSA effectively. It
is crucial that staff be trained properly to understand the
kill times on the product being used and how to properly
use the product,” he states
Infection control processes, products and protocols
essentially have three core common elements.
1. They positively impact patient care and staff safety.
2. Their impacts can be measured economically and in
3. They are easily constructed, implemented and understood.
However, just because the answer might sound simple,
that does not make it easy. At the end of the day, your
facility’s ability to control/prevent infection will need
to comprise not just an understanding of what needs to
be done, but a willingness to combine all these elements
in putting a dedicated plan into action that consistently
ensures positive outcomes, both immediate and long-term, for patients and staff.