This is part three of a four-part article on infection prevention techniques that prepare facilities for possible pandemic outbreaks.

No one can predict what the next infection outbreak will be or when it will strike; therefore, custodial executives need an all-encompassing program that will prepare them for any situation. Blackwell recommends starting by considering the possible pandemic and route of transfer.

“Some diseases are spread through the droplet or airborne route, such as Influenza or Measles, while others contaminate surfaces, such as Clostridium difficile (C.diff) and other healthcare associated infections,” she says.

Dunbar agrees, advocating for a multipronged approach.

“When each infection comes up, we have to consider how it is transmitted,” she says. “Measles can be transmitted through the air, so we need to address questions such as, do we put patients in an isolation tent to move them? Do we clear out the lobby because it’s airborne? Do we wait a certain number of hours after the patient leaves so the air cycles out before we clean? The process may differ depending on how the disease is transmitted.”

In addition to detailing cleaning and disinfecting procedures for different types of diseases, pandemic plans should address “simple” tasks such as having a cart ready with the necessary cleaning supplies or reviewing hand washing techniques.

“Have your tools in place and be ready — even though an outbreak may never happen,” urges Dunbar. “We set up Ebola carts, so now we have a cart that’s always going to be in that one place ready to go, if needed.”

Similarly, when reviewing processes step by step, Dunbar found “definite gaps” that needed to be addressed, such as how to seal a transport drum or how to clean a room while a child is in it.

“There were a lot of little things that we didn’t think would be an issue,” she admits.

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Training Staff On Proper Infection Prevention
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Protecting Staff From Germ Exposure