Archives for November 2013

Whiteboard Wednesday: Following Infection Control Standards

It’s important to follow your medical facility’s infection control standards and guidelines. Today on our Whiteboard Wednesday we talk about the types of topics you might see within these guidelines.

7 ALARA Principles For Reducing Radiation Exposure

What is the ALARA Principle? 

ALARA is an acronym used in radiation safety for “As Low As Reasonably Achievable.” The ALARA radiation safety principle is based on the minimization of radiation doses and limiting the release of radioactive materials into the environment by employing all “reasonable methods.” ALARA is not only a sound radiation safety principle, but it is a regulatory requirement for all “radiation protection programs.” The ALARA concept is an integral part of all activities that involve the use of radiation or radioactive materials and can help prevent unnecessary exposure as well as overexposure. The three major principles to assist with maintaining doses “As Low As Reasonably Achievable” are time, distance and shielding.

How can you reduce external radiation exposure? 

1. Time

Reducing the time of exposure can directly reduce radiation dose. Dose rate is the total amount of radiation absorbed relative to its biological effect. Dose rate is the rate at which the radiation is absorbed. Limiting the time of radiation exposure will reduce your radiation dose.

2. Distance

Increasing the distance between you and the radiation source you will reduce exposure by the square of the distance. Doubling the distance between your body and the radiation source will divide the radiation exposure by a factor of 4.

3. Shielding 

Lead or lead equivalent shielding for X-rays and gamma rays is an effective way to reduce radiation exposure. There are various types of shielding used in the reduction of radiation exposure including lead aprons, mobile lead shields, lead glasses, and lead barriers. When working in radiation areas it is important to use shielding whenever possible.

How can you reduce internal radiation exposure? 

1. Good Hygiene

Practicing good hygiene and housekeeping habits effectively moderate the internal radiation hazards presented by radionuclides. By eliminating the presence of food and drink in areas where radioactive materials are used or stored, and controlling “hand to mouth” habits, the risk of internal radiation exposure is reduced.

2. Control of Contamination

Labeling radioactive and potentially radioactive areas and items will help prevent the spread of contamination. It is important to control contamination with absorbent papers and spill trays and placing any contaminated item in a properly labeled waste container. When a contamination occurs it is important to promptly decontaminate the area to prevent the spread of the contaminate.

3. Airborne Hazards

Using fume hoods and avoiding dust, aerosol, or volatile gas production can reduce the potential for inhalation of radioactive substances.

4. Use Proper PPE

Using the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) such as disposable gloves, safety glasses, lab coats, etc. will help reduce the possibility of ingestion or absorption of radioactive materials.

It’s very important to understand how to protect your medical staff and patients when working around high frequency radiation and to be aware of ways to reduce the level of radiation exposure. It takes a team effort to successfully implement the ALARA principles.  ALARA should be a routine element of your work in radiological areas.

Weekly Wrap For November 18 – November 22, 2013

5 Benefits Of Disposable Patient Positioning Straps

Disposable patient positioning straps are used to assist in immobilizing patients and are great for infection control purposes. Proper patient positioning is critical to patient safety, a durable safety strap is often required for specific positioning techniques. 

Sharps Containers: Preventing Sharps Injuries With Proper Disposal

Sharps injuries are a very serious matter in healthcare facilities. According to the CDC, they estimate that about 385,000 sharps-related injuries occur yearly among medical workers in hospitals. Careful handling of contaminated sharps can reduce the risk of infection for hospital workers.

Whiteboard Wednesday: Types of PPE Supplies

This week's Whiteboard Wednesday, we discuss the different types of PPE supplies! Disposable gowns, face masks, infection control footwear, bouffants, lab coats, etc. are all important PPE supplies to keep in your medical setting.

World Wide Pressure Ulcer Prevention Day – November 21, 2013

We are proud to join the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP) in the promotion of World Wide Pressure Ulcer Prevention Day!

“The National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel serves as the authoritative voice for improved patient outcomes in pressure ulcer prevention and treatment through public policy, education and research.”

World Wide Pressure Ulcer Prevention Day – November 21, 2013

We are proud to join the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP) in the promotion of World Wide Pressure Ulcer Prevention Day!

“The National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel serves as the authoritative voice for improved patient outcomes in pressure ulcer prevention and treatment through public policy, education and research.”

The International NPUAP-EPUAP defines pressure ulcer as a “localized injury to the skin and/or underlying tissue usually over a bony prominence, as a result of pressure, or pressure in combination with shear. A number of contributing or confounding factors are also associated with pressure ulcers; the significance of these factors is yet to be elucidated.”

Pressure ulcers or bedsores, are injuries to skin and underlying tissues that result from prolonged pressure on the skin. The development of pressure ulcers most commonly occur on bony areas of the body, such as the heel, ankles, hips, head or buttocks. Individuals who are confined to a bed for prolonged periods, required to use a wheelchair, or have a medical condition that limits them from easily changing positions are the most susceptible to developing pressure ulcers. According to the Mayo Clinic “bedsores can develop quickly and are often difficult to treat.” There are several strategies that can help prevent some bedsores and promote healing.

The NPUAP has categorized and defined (listed below) bedsores into four stages based on their severity. The severity of the pressure ulcer is ranked from stage I, the beginning stage, to stage IV, the most severe, where the ulcer exhibits large-scale tissue loss.

Category/Stage I: Non-Blanchable erythema 

Skin is intact with non-blanchable redness (lighter color skin) or darkly pigmented skin may not have visible blanching of a localized area usually over a bony prominence. “The area may be painful, firm, soft, warmer or cooler as compared to adjacent tissue.”

Category/Stage II: Partial thickness

Partial thickness loss of dermis presenting as a shallow open ulcer with a red pink wound bed, without slough or bruising.

Category/Stage III: Full thickness skin loss

Full thickness tissue loss, bone, tendon and muscle are not exposed but subcutaneous (adipose tissue) fat may be visible. The depth of the ulcer can vary depending on the amount of subcutaneous tissue present in the region.

Category/Stage IV: Full thickness tissue loss  

The most severe stage, full thickness tissue loss with exposed bone, tendon or muscle has occurred.

Common sites of pressure ulcers for people who use a wheelchair develop on the tailbone, shoulder blade, spine, back of arms and legs where they rest against the chair. People confined to beds often develop pressure ulcers on the back or sides of head, rim of the ears, shoulders or shoulder blades, hip, lower back, tailbone, heels, ankles and the skin behind the knees.

Risk factors for developing pressure ulcers include anyone with limited mobility and is unable to easily change positions while seated or in a bed. Immobility may be due to:

  • Generally poor health or weakness
  •  Paralysis
  • Injury or illness that requires bed rest or wheelchair use
  • Recovery after surgery
  • Sedation (surgical procedure)
  • Coma

Relieving pressure from the pressure ulcer site is the first step in treatment. The use of support surfaces (special cushions or pads, mattresses and beds) and patient repositioning can help reduce the pressure on the sore. There are a whole host of treatment options that are available to people with bedsores or pressure ulcers that are out of the scope of this post, so please feel free to visit the NPUAP site for more resources.

The impact of pressure ulcers upon patients and families can be traumatic and life changing, so please help spread the word to help increase awareness of this global challenge that health care providers face on a daily basis. For further information about National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel and pressure ulcers please visit: NPUAP

Whiteboard Wednesday: Types of PPE Supplies

On today’s Whiteboard Wednesday, we discuss the different types of PPE supplies! Disposable gowns, face masks, infection control footwear, bouffants, lab coats, etc. are all important PPE supplies to keep in your medical setting.

Sharps Containers: Preventing Sharps Injuries With Proper Disposal

Sharps injuries are a very serious matter in healthcare facilities. According to the CDC, they estimate that about 385,000 sharps-related injuries occur yearly among medical workers in hospitals. Careful handling of contaminated sharps can reduce the risk of infection for hospital workers.

A sharps container is simply a container that is filled with used medical needles, scalpels or any small sharp medical instruments. According to OSHA, containers for contaminated sharps must be puncture-resistant. The sides and the bottom must be leakproof. They must be appropriately labeled or color-coded red to warn everyone that the contents are hazardous.

What can you do to prevent sharps injuries?

  • Utilize appropriate sharps containers in your work environment.
  • Dispose sharps with care (keep fingers away from opening of the container, do not overfill the sharps containers, follow safety guidelines when disposing sharps).
  • Recapping a used needle prior to placing into sharps containers.
  • Dispose sharps immediately after use, or as soon as possible.

The 1 Gallon Red Sharps Container has a locking screw cap and needle keyhole to provide safe, one hand sharps disposal. This particular unit is puncture-resistant and can be used freestanding or mounted onto metal cabinets and stands.

Sharps containers are a must-have for sharps disposal! If you have any questions or comments regarding sharps containers please let us know in the box below.

5 Benefits Of Disposable Patient Positioning Straps

Disposable patient positioning straps are used to assist in immobilizing patients and are great for infection control purposes. Proper patient positioning is critical to patient safety, a durable safety strap is often required for specific positioning techniques. When selecting a patient positioning strap it is important to consider the safety and well-being of the patient during their procedure. By selecting disposable positioning straps like the Disposable Velcro Self Strap Restraint System you will reduce the risk of patient injury and maximize patient safety. Straps made from flexible materials provide a soft, injury reducing form of patient restraint that can be used during all phases of preoperative surgeries. Features of the disposable Velcro self strap restraint system include versatility, residue free adhesion, disposable for infection control, non-metal construction, and latex-free.

Versatile 

The disposable Velcro self strap restraint system comes in a 30′ roll and is easily trimmed to the desired length with ordinary scissors. The Velcro loop is laminated to the hook which makes an automatic self adjusting positioning strap/immobilizer that can be used during any O.R. procedure. This unique hook and loop combination is so versatile that it can be used with any table or surface that does not have side rails.

Residue Free 

The convenient Velcro strap acts like an ordinary roll of tape without the messy adhesive residue. The Velcro strap sticks to itself so you can quickly and easily trim to the desired length to accommodate patients of different sizes. The Velcro hook and loop strap quickly stabilizes the patient thereby minimizing trauma and bruising.

Infection Control

The World Health Organization states that the management of health-care waste is an integral part of hospital hygiene and infection control. “Health-care waste should be considered as a reservoir of pathogenic microorganisms, which can cause contamination and give rise to infection.” According to WHO, the most frequent route of infection transmission is indirect contact. For example, the infected patient touches an object, instrument or surface which then becomes contaminated. Subsequent contact between that item and another patient is likely to contaminate the second individual who then may then develop an infection. By using a disposable Velcro self strap restraint system the risk of indirect infection transmission is almost completely eliminated.

Non-Metallic Construction 

The Velcro self strap restraint system is latex and metal-free which reduces injury to the patient and the staff. Some reusable positioning straps have metal rings or buckles that can reduce the potential for skin cuts, abrasions and welts. The Velcro straps provide a soft and pliable surface which reduces skin irritation and pressure sores.

Latex Free 

Latex is used in a variety of medical products. Medical professionals are at risk since they are frequently exposed to latex products. Hospitals and health care facilities are beginning to create latex-safe treatment areas and surgical suites to accommodate people who are allergic to latex. Some facilities have also set up systems for identification of staff and patients with latex allergy. The disposable Velcro self strap restraint system is latex free and offers an excellent alternative to latex based products.

Proper patient positioning is critical to patient safety. By using a disposable patient positioning strap you add an additional layer of infection prevention. The disposable Velcro self strap restraint system will make a great addition to your medical facility.

 

 

Weekly Wrap For November 11 – November 15, 2013

Whiteboard Wednesday: Types Of Common Infections And How To Prevent Them

In this weeks Whiteboard Wednesday we review a few common types of infections that take place in hospitals and medical facilities, and a few ways to prevent these infections! 

How To Choose The Right Exam Glove Dispenser

Choosing the right exam glove box dispenser is an important step in keeping your medical facility organized and promoting sound infection control practices. Exam glove box dispensers, sometimes referred to as PPE dispensers, eliminate the need to carry exam gloves in pockets, loose in drawers or on countertops. 

Hand Hygiene Tips You’ll Want To Know

It’s the perfect time of year to review some basic hand hygiene tips! As many of us already know, washing your hands before and after you eat, after using the restroom and before and after tending to sick patients is important. 

Hand Hygiene Tips You’ll Want To Know

It’s the perfect time of year to review some basic hand hygiene tips! As many of us already know, washing your hands before and after you eat, after using the restroom and before and after tending to sick patients is important. Hand washing is simple and is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs.

Here are a few tips to remember the next time you go to wash your hands:

  1. Remove all rings you may be wearing.
  2. Wet  your hands with warm or cold water and apply soap.
  3. Rub your hands vigorously to create a lather.
  4. Scrub all surfaces, including front, back, wrists and between fingers.
  5. Continue for at least 20 seconds. (If you sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice, that’s approximately 20 seconds!)
  6. Rinse your hands well and dry them with a clean paper towel, or air dryer.
  7. If possible, use your towel to turn off the faucet.

How To Choose The Right Exam Glove Dispenser

Choosing the right exam glove box dispenser is an important step in keeping your medical facility organized and promoting sound infection control practices. Exam glove box dispensers, sometimes referred to as PPE dispensers, eliminate the need to carry exam gloves in pockets, loose in drawers or on countertops. There are several factors to consider when selecting the right exam glove box dispenser. The type of facility and the amount of traffic your facility or department receives are two of the top considerations. The application and location of the dispenser will determine what size capacity is needed, the type of material, mounting orientation and any additional features.

Application

In high traffic locations such as emergency departments, operating rooms and trauma units where exam glove usage is critical, keeping a safe stocking level is crucial to staying compliant with infection control policies.  Selecting a quad or four box exam glove dispenser ensures that your department will always have sufficient inventory on hand at all times. Hospitals with a large number of staff will typically want to choose a quad or triple box exam glove dispenser that can accommodate multiple sizes.  For more specialized infection control applications, the Microban Anti-Microbial exam glove box holder is ideal for use in cleanrooms, hospitals, and microbiological work areas.

Capacity

There are four common exam glove box dispenser configurations: single, double, triple, and quad to meet your facilities needs. Some of the dispensers are designed to be dedicated exam glove box holders while other dispensers, like the FlexHold quad glove/mask holder have been designed to hold various types of PPE supply boxes. There are also specialty exam glove dispenser boxes that incorporate an additional pocket to hold hand sanitizer.

Material

Exam glove box dispensers are available in multiple substrates: acrylic, powder coated steel wire, epoxy coated steel wire, stainless steel, white steel, and high-impact polystyrene. Acrylic dispensers are clear and durable allowing for quick glove identification and easy refilling. The powder coated and epoxy coated wire dispensers feature a see-through construction which allows for easy identification of glove sizes. The durable stainless steel dispensers are long lasting and safe to clean with most bleach solutions. The powder coated steel dispensers offer a durable finish and an open design which allows for easy identification of glove sizes. Dispensers constructed from high impact polystyrene (HIPS) are durable and are resistant to harsh cleaning solutions.

Mounting Orientation

Exam glove box dispensers are available in multiple mounting configurations. Some dispensers are designed with two-way keyholes that allow for a dual mounting option so that the dispenser can be mounted vertically or horizontally. Dispensers may also come with suction cups that allow for mounting on glass surfaces. In addition to the wall mount option, many of the dispensers can also be placed on a counter or tabletop which will keep glove boxes organized and improve the utilization of exam gloves in your facility.

Features 

Unique features may be necessary depending on the specific location and application. Let’s take a look at some of the unique features available. There are Dispensers with locking lids which offer an added level of protection for safely and securely storing exam gloves while still allowing for easy access. Most acrylic dispensers have finger holes located on one end to make refilling quick and easy. There are several types of loading configurations including, top, side, and bottom loading. Some dispensers have spring loaded back flaps that keeps glove boxes up front and firmly in place, preventing smaller boxes from sliding. The FlexHold quad glove/mask holder has a unique bottom loading, adjustable clamp design that adjusts to a variety of different sized PPE boxes including, gloves, mop caps, ear defenders, face masks, and shoe covers.

There are a variety of exam glove dispensers to choose from and that is why it is important to take the criteria listed above into consideration before making your decision. Purchasing exam glove dispensers might seem like a fairly straightforward process but with the amount of options available it can make the decision more difficult then originally anticipated. If you may have any questions regarding how to choose the right exam glove please feel free to leave a comment below or contact us directly at info@universalmedicalinc.com.