Healthcare candidate guide

We aim to reduce the risk of cross infection by all healthcare workers to all patients and minimise the transmission of micro organisms from both recognised and unrecognised sources of infections, especially in hospital acquired infections such as MRSA and Clostridium Difficile.

This policy is intended to be used alongside, and not replace, any local NHS or Care Home policy and procedure. Please familiarise themselves with local infection control policies in every new assignment that you attend.

Communication between staff, service users, relatives and visitors

Effective communication must take place between staff, patients, relatives and visitors where there is risk to every one connected to the patient, especially if that patient has an infectious condition and extra precautions are being taken in particular where MRSA or Clostridium Difficile or other such infections are prevalent.

Best practice in infection control applies to the care of all service users regardless of diagnosis or presumed infection status, where there is possible contact with:

  • Blood
  • All body fluids
  • Mucous membranes
  • With the exception of sweat, all other secretions and excretions
  • Non-intact skin lesions

To maintain the control of infection the following observations must include:

  • Risk assessment prior to any procedure
  • Hand washing
  • Personal and protective equipment
  • Safe disposal of sharps
  • Communication between all staff, service users, relatives and visitors

Risk assessment

A clinical risk assessment is undertaken first of all to ensure any risk to service users and staff is kept to a minimum.

  • Potential risks are identified
  • Analysed
  • Controlled
  • Reviewed

If an issue does occur it must be reported to the nurse in charge of the area. An incident form must be filled in, which you should request from the nurse in charge.

All healthcare workers must abide by the requirements of the HSC 1998/226 guidance on the management of AIDS/HIV infected care workers and patient notification and subsequent amendments. To assist you, more info is available via the Department of Health website.

Personal protective equipment

Selection of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should be based on an assessment, according to local guidelines, of the risk of transmission of micro-organisms to the service user, and the risk of contamination of your clothing and skin by service users’ blood, body fluids, secretions or excretions.

Gloves must be worn for invasive procedures, nursing infected service users in isolation, contact with sterile sites and non-intact skin or mucous membranes. As well as all activities that have been assessed as carrying risk of exposure to blood, body fluids, secretions or excretions, or to sharp or contaminated instruments.

Gloves must be worn as single-use item. They must be put on immediately before an episode of service user contact or treatment and removed as soon as the activity is completed. Gloves must be changed between caring for different service users, and between different care or treatment activities on the same Service.

Gloves must be disposed of as clinical waste and hands decontaminated after the gloves have been removed. Your sensitivity to natural rubber latex as well as the patients must be documented, and alternatives to natural rubber latex gloves must be available. If you have a latex allergy you must inform your Recruitment Consultant at Search as soon as possible.

Disposable plastic aprons should be worn when nursing infected patients in isolation and there is a risk that clothing may be exposed to blood, body fluids, secretions or excretions, discounting sweat.

Plastic aprons should be worn as a single-use item, for one procedure or episode of patient care, and then discarded and disposed of as clinical waste.

Full body fluid repellent gowns must be worn where there is a risk of extensive splashing of blood, body fluids, secretions or excretions, onto your skin or clothing.

Face masks and eye protection must be worn where there is a risk of blood, body fluids, secretions or excretions splashing into your face and eyes.

Where PPE is required be worn, they will be provided by the client. Where the service user is in protective isolation, local guidelines and policy must be followed.

Safe use and disposal of sharps

Sharps must not be passed directly from hand to hand, and handling should be kept to a minimum. Needles must not be recapped, bent, broken or disassembled before use or disposal. Used sharps must be discarded into a sharps container at the point of use by the user.

These must not be filled above the mark that indicates that they are full.

If a needle stick injury occurs you should immediately:

  • Encourage the wound to bleed
  • Wash under running water
  • Cover with a waterproof dressing
  • Report immediately to the nurse in charge of the clinical area who will organise appropriate action
  • Fill in an accident form
  • Report the accident also to your consultant

Hand washing

Hands must be washed immediately before each and every episode of direct service user contact or care and after any activity or contact that could potentially result in hand contamination, including after the removal of protected gloves.

Hands that are visibly soiled, or potentially grossly contaminated with dirt or organic material, must be washed with soap and water. Hands must be decontaminated, preferably with a 70% alcohol-based hand rub unless hands are visibly soiled, between each service user contact and also between different care activities for the same service user. Only a plain wedding ring may be worn as hand jewellery. Wristwatches and bracelets must not be worn. Cuts and abrasions must be covered with a waterproof dressing. Fingernails must be kept short, clean and free from polish. False nails and extensions must not be worn.

There are three stages to an effective decontamination technique: preparation, washing hands and rinsing and drying as shown in the diagram.

Preparation is the wetting of hands under free flowing tepid water before applying liquid soap or an antimicrobial preparation. The hand wash solution must come into contact with all of the surfaces of the hands. The hand washing should last for around 20 seconds, paying particular attention to the tips of the fingers.

Hands should be rinsed thoroughly before drying with a paper towel. When decontaminating hands using an alcohol hand rub, hands should be free from dirt and organic material.

The hand rub solution must come into contact with all surfaces of the hand. The hands must be rubbed together vigorously, paying particular attention to the fingers, the thumbs and the areas of skin between the fingers, until the solution has evaporated and the hands are dry. It is recommended that an emollient hand cream is applied, at the end of a shift to protect the skin from the drying elements found in some particular antimicrobial hand washes and alcohol products. Note any skin allergies that could occur by using certain products.

Health & Safety

Health & Safety

Health & Safety