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The Future of Infection Control

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Infection control has always been a focal point in hospitals because of the important role it plays with inpatient care. Since the onset of the coronavirus, infection control has been a staple in minimizing additional exposures within the healthcare field. Since it is already a crucial aspect in a facility, the question is now what does the future hold for infection control? Infection control staff are constantly monitoring cases and evaluating safeguards put in place to see their effectiveness.

Because of the current changes and lessons learned so far, there will be a paradigm shift with infection control. Some of the areas shifting will include pressures within a facility, ensuring staff increase daily hygiene measures, and additional monitoring of areas that have normally been out of the scope of infection control.

Once information is gathered and studies are completed over the next year or so, the most accurate and pertinent information will become an industry standard for future outbreaks and daily operations. Studies are already being reported but have limited information. At this point, they are only being viewed as initial primitive studies.

Although no one knows exactly what is going to change in the field, here are some areas likely to be adjusted.

  1. Hospitals/infection control will take a closer look at limiting visitors to admitted patients. With the increase in infection/exposure rates within facilities, coupled with the current requirements from COVID, limiting visitors is likely to continue as part of the normal daily operations within the hospital.
  2. Continued focus on cleanliness but requiring infection control and environmental services to work together utilizing future chemicals and equipment. In the past, many hospitals operated under the suggestion of Environmental Services, which would still be the driver in many circumstances. From here on out, it will require more direct involvement with the Infection Control Staff.
  3. PPE requirements will be evaluated based upon statistical data provided from a variety of sources, i.e. CDC, hospitals, AORN, and APIC data. These organizations will be looking at best practices and providing the data required to support changes being made.
  4. Increase in the use of ultraviolet light and UV equipment. With the outbreak of COVID-19, initial individual reports are showing a decrease in infection rates due to UV usage. UV usage is already being used in wastewater and water treatment applications. These areas show a decrease in bacteria, related to the usage of the UV lighting (Hospital News-Canada).

These are just a few examples of changes that are foreseen within the industry. I am sure there will be many more as studies continue. Quite possibly, some studies may identify that PPE usage in certain situations is not as effective as originally thought. It will be interesting to see what transpires, but we all know it will happen. The real question is when?

Sources: https://hospitalnews.com/ultraviolet-hvac-keys-reducing-hospital-acquired-infections/

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