Infection control experts at a recent meeting of the Society of Healthcare Epidemiology of America released some surprising news.  This revelation concerns the inspiration of a certain thoughtful healthcare employee.  Jasper Palmer, who works at the Albert Einstein Healthcare network in Philadelphia, instinctively started a simple disposal technique that has since caught on with other healthcare staff. This innovation now reduces MRSA infections by between 26 and 62 percent in hospitals where it has been implemented.

Attention to detail is important in any sterilization and infection control program. Most of us know that some medical personnel have a tendency to not wash their hands nearly as often or as thoroughly as they should.  Given that, it is not so surprising that disposable gowns can sometimes be found overflowing to the outside of their intended receptacles.  Paper gowns worn when handling ill patients can present a significant cross-contamination potential when not disposed of properly.

Paper gowns and gloves were designed and intended to prevent the spread of infectious disease because they are single-use and disposable.  Their use has become mandatory when treating MRSA patients.  Yet the spread of these superbugs continued anyway.  Untidy disposal of the gowns spreads germs to surrounding surfaces.  From there the germs can spread elsewhere as other unknowing personnel touch those surfaces with their hands or cloths.  Eventually and unintentionally, pathogens can spread throughout the facility.

Jasper thought his method of disposal was just the right thing to do in any healthcare environment.  It was neat and organized.  He knew it would stop the spread of the germs.  He didn’t think twice about it until others began noticing his technique.  He would take the outside of his paper hospital gown and scrunch it up into a small ball so that it could fit inside his glove.   With the stuffed glove inside out, it would prevent the gown from spreading germs to the surrounding surfaces.  This is quick. Little effort is needed to do this.  Basically, the glove becomes a receptacle that can be properly disposed of itself in a way that is convenient.

If trash cans are full, the glove can serve as a temporary means to contain the gown.  That means all healthcare professionals are more likely to actually wear a gown when it is required.  Lack of a way to properly dispose of one is no longer an excuse.  The irony of all of this is that Jasper is a patient transporter and not a nurse or doctor.  But his idea is now being taught to those experts.

Keeping It Clean

Hands and clothes are medical instruments too.  Disinfecting them is a focus of any good healthcare management.  The CDC notes that approximately 94,000 patients in the U.S. contract serious MRSA infections per year.   About 19,000 of them die.

Cross-contamination must be stopped.  Hands and clothing can potentially transfer germs to the other sterile medical instruments that are commonly used.  Many sterilizers use vacuum pumps to remove air from a load prior to pumping in the steam.  These can be used to sterilize bandages and linens when necessary. Other autoclaves are designed to process hazardous medical waste prior to transport and final disposal.  Both of these types of equipment play an important role in keeping dangerous pathogens in check.  This free report will help you find the proper one for your specific need.