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8 – Unit 80 Supporting infection prevention and Control in Social Care

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1.1 Explain how infection prevention policies and guidelines can be applied in own work setting

Infection prevention policies and guidelines provide the framework to ensure that effective infection control measures are implemented in health and social care work settings. By having these protocols in place, healthcare professionals can prevent the transmission of communicable diseases among staff members, patients/clients, and visitors. These policies cover areas such as hand hygiene (to reduce the spread of bacteria), personal protective equipment, vaccination programs, and cleaning procedures, all essential aspects for reducing risks associated with cross-infection.

Adhering to infection prevention standards should be a priority for any healthcare provider as it not only helps protect those receiving services from becoming ill but also reduces absenteeism among staff due to sickness absence or serious illness caused by an infectious agent or environmental factor, such as mould found within damp environments. Infection prevention guidelines need to be enforced within health and social care settings at all times – with no exceptions – if we want to minimise the risk of acquiring infections during our stay at a hospital/facility or when being cared for in the community.

The main strategies to be adopted in own work setting to prevent the spread of infection can be summarised as follows:

  • Good hand hygiene practices – handwashing with soap and water or the use of an alcohol-based sanitiser before and after every contact with a patient/client.
  • Cleaning, disinfection, and sterilisation procedures also occur throughout each shift, e.g., clean bedding, instruments, etc.
  • Use of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, masks, and eye protection when necessary during a procedure or cleaning activity that may expose them to body fluids from patients/clients and aerosolised microorganisms that could enter the nose/mouth through breathing.
  • Proper waste disposal and management – ensuring all items used are safely discarded into designated bins upon completion of use.
  • Vaccination programs also play an important part in reducing the transmission risk of certain infectious agents.

In addition, all health and social care staff must attend regular training sessions so they understand their roles in preventing cross-infection, staying updated with new guidelines/regulations, and using appropriate protective equipment where applicable when caring for patients/clients in the community or a healthcare setting. Adopting these measures will help protect both patients/clients and staff from infection-related illnesses, which can cause serious long-term complications if not managed properly.

Other answers in the full document:

  • 1.2 Identify differences in the ways in which infection prevention and control policies and guidance are implemented in a range of work settings
  • 2.6 Explain the functions of external bodies in supporting infection prevention and control in the work setting
  • 3.3 Explain why particular devices need special handling to minimise the spread of infection
  • 4.1 Explain how to work with others to identity infection outbreaks in own work setting
  • 4.2 Explain how to work with others to implement policies and procedures following an infection outbreak
  • 4.3 Describe how to provide information about outbreaks of infection in accessible formats to individuals and others
  • 4.4 Describe ways to ensure that care for the individual is provided in the most appropriate place
  • 4.5 Describe situations where additional guidance may need to be accessed to manage infection prevention and control incidents
  • 5.1 Describe the process for sharing information about infections and suspected infections within own work setting
  • 5.2 Describe processes for reporting accidents and incidents relating to infection prevention and control within own work setting

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