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Home Healthcare Infection Prevention

Feb 6, 2019 11:00:00 AM    posted in Infection Prevention

With an aging population that plans to age in their own homes, the demand for home healthcare workers is projected to far outpace even the rapid growth rate in the healthcare sector according to this CNBC news report. The good news is that those who take on the crucial task of providing highly-engaged and deeply-personal help to the homebound display, on the whole, a positive attitude towards infection control. While in some areas there may be a knowledge gap, there are also encouraging signs about caregivers’ increasing focus on infection control at home. For instance, a 2018 study  by Columbia University and the Visiting Nurse Service of New York noted that 100 percent of home healthcare nurses reported proper compliance with wearing gloves when there was the potential for contact with blood products or bodily fluids.

There are some unique infection control challenges that home care presents. By understanding them, you can get a feel for how home healthcare workers can successfully keep their patients out of the hospital and in the comfortable surroundings they’re happy with.

Limited Guidance on Compliance
Since home healthcare as we know it is such a young field, the best practices for managing infection in the home just haven’t been established in educational literature. The latest significant study on these matters was done in 2014, using data from 2010. With further studies, improved measures will likely emerge. In the meantime intelligence, information, and intuition will drive infection prevention in the home.

The Need for Serious Medicine in Casual Environments

This recent Modern Healthcare article quotes Jennifer Sheets, Chief Clinical Officer of Bayada Home Health Care as saying, "There is a knowledge deficit to the challenges that exist in the home." The home health-care worker must be able to go into a home armed with deep knowledge about infection prevention protocol, look around the house or apartment, and find ways to practically apply regulations that exist in hospitals to home environments, in meaningful ways. To do this, it is important that caregivers understand the “why” behind hospital regulations and determine the applicability of a given guideline in a home environment.

Limited Resources
In a healthcare environment, things like soap and sterilization tools are a given. Some individuals will simply not have these infection prevention basics on hand in the home. Anticipating differing levels of personal hygiene preparedness and making basics, like soap, available is another important part of keeping patients safe from infection.

The Need to Control Unpredictable

Even if a caregiver is completely on-point with infection prevention, the uncontrolled nature of a home environment invariably introduces wildcards, such as an unexpected visit from a friend with a cold. For caregivers, this adds a new twist – providing care at home isn’t just about infection control protocol, it’s about providing education to everyone in contact with the patient.

The Importance of Caregiver as Teacher
Part and parcel of a patient’s decision to seek in-home care is the desire to maintain normal interactions and relationships. In order to facilitate this without putting a patient in harm’s way, caregivers will increasingly need to be sources of guidance on infection control measures – like proper hand hygiene -- for laypeople. In home healthcare, the caregiver works in partnership with those in the patient’s lives, so that everyone together can do what’s best for the patient.

Ventyv™ Helps Home Healthcare Helpers
As the demand for such services continues to grow, there will be an even greater need for healthcare professionals willing to take on unique challenges every day. Part of being able to deftly manage daily surprises is being properly equipped.

Ventyv™ is here to help you manage infection prevention at home; not only with our line of second-to-none hand protection products but also by providing you with the latest expert information on all the developments in the infection prevention world.

Subscribe to our blog, request a free sample of our gloves, and start down the path to happy home patients – hand in hand with us -- as the burgeoning field of home health-care continues to develop.

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