August 16, 2011
New Infection Control Procedures
Good afternoon everyone! I have some updates to our infection control procedures used on the iPods, iPads and laptops that we lend to patients in UMHS and at the CVC. Last week, Elsie, Beverly and I met with Melissa Thakur, an infection control specialist, to make sure that our laptop, iPad and iPod cleaning process was robust enough to make sure that our devices would not be the source of disease transmission at UMHS. While most of the process will stay the same, I wanted to share a few notable differences that came out of the conversation. I will also update the procedures on the MWRC intranet for reference.
1. The biggest change is that from now on, in addition to wiping down the surfaces (i.e., countertops) on which we clean the laptops/iPods at the beginning of the shift, we now wipe down that surface each time we clean a laptop/iPad/iPod. So let's say you set a "dirty" laptop down on the counter to get ready to clean it. You then clean it with a Lysol wipe, and before setting it back down on the counter, wipe the surface of the cabinet to make sure you are putting a "clean" device on a "clean" surface.
2. Contact precautions procedure changes: There are two changes to share about handling devices that were used by patients under contact precautions. Firstly, according to Melissa, all items removed from the room of a patient under contact precautions are supposed to be wiped down by nursing staff before leaving the room. To be sure, we will also continue our practice of wiping down devices used by patients under contact precautions with bleach wipes. The main change will be that we will no longer wipe the screens of laptops with bleach wipes. Since patients do not usually touch the screens of the laptops in the course of regular use, the risk of transmitting infection via the screen is low. In addition, I will be ordering Virex for the iPods and iPads, as bleach is counter-indicated for touch screen devices and can damage the screens. Continue using the bleach wipes on iPods and iPads until the Virex arrives.
3. Another note about contact precautions: Always bring devices used by patients under contact precautions back in a fresh clear bag with a "Contact Precautions" sticker on it. Make sure your cart is stocked with a couple of clean clear bags and a sheet of "Contact Precautions" stickers. This will ensure that the "dirty" devices don't touch anything "clean" in the PERC before the device gets cleaned.
These are the changes we've made to our procedures. If you have any questions at all, please ask Beverly or myself.
And to all our volunteers who are leaving us for the rest of the summer, and who may or may not be returning in the fall, thank you for your hard work!