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Infection Control in Home Care

Infection Control in Home Care

An important aspect of in-home care for any caregiver is infection control. When taking care of someone at home.  it is important that you establish a routine that will help keep infections to a minimum. An infection in an environment like this can be dangerous to the individual, especially if their immune system has been compromised by an illness or condition. Having said that, every caregiver should be well trained in infection control so that they can reduce the likelihood that the individual will contract one.

Every individual will have specific needs depending on the condition that they live with, in order to keep them and their environment free from infection. When working with an individual in-home, it is important to contact the care team and ask questions about the types of things that should be done to limit the possibility of infection.

Aspects of Infection Control

When caring for someone in-home, it is necessary to concentrate on aspects of infection control. There are a few main areas that In-Home Care needs to focus on to prevent infections. Let's take a look at a few aspects of infection control that can be done in-home to help prevent infections as much as possible or help to reduce one that is already present.

  • Home Infusion Therapy

Infusion therapy infuses substances like immune globulin and antivirals using equipment such as pumps, catheters, and tubing to subcutaneously or intravenously administer biologicals or drugs that will help an individual recover from or prevent an infection. This type of treatment may be provided by a licensed caregiver, however training for this type of therapy should be done by a licensed skilled nurse.

  • Enteral Therapy

In this type of therapy, a nutritionally complete formula that contains the energy, minerals, protein, and vitamins replace normal sustenance. The formula will be administered using a feeding tube because the individual will typically have a problem swallowing or digesting. This type of therapy can be administered by a caregiver in-home and it will help reduce certain infections in the stomach and intestines.

  • Urinary Tract Care

If you have ever had a urinary tract infection, you will know that this type of care is an important part of taking care of an individual in-home. This type of therapy relies heavily upon drinking plenty of water to flush out any bacteria that might be present. The person should not drink anything that could cause irritation such as citrus juices, soft drinks, coffee, alcohol, or anything with caffeine in it because these substances have the potential to irritate your bladder and worsen the problem. Many times, a heating pad will be utilized across the abdomen to help reduce discomfort.

  • Wound Care

If the individual being cared for has skin ulcers, traumatic ulcers, diabetic foot ulcers, vein or arterial ulcers, or burns, an important aspect of caregiving can be wound care. This involves keeping the area clean and free of debris, making sure that there is a little irritation as possible in the area, and applying medications including antibacterial and antifungals. When starting to work for an individual with problems such as these, the caregiver should speak with the care team about the specific individual needs that are required for that person.

  • Respiratory Care

If respiratory care is needed, the in-home individual will be assigned a respiratory therapist to help administer the therapy. This type of therapy is designed to promote the health of a cardiopulmonary function so that their blood is being oxygenated as efficiently as possible. This can include the use of many different kinds of medical and scientific principles. Respiratory therapists will use their skills and knowledge to help identify the problem and treat it appropriately. This type of therapy can be applied to numerous different conditions including lung infections to help individuals get back to a better life.

Universal Precautions

The caregiver should be properly trained in universal precautions. With universal precautions, it states that any blood or human bodily fluid should be treated as though it were positive for an infectious disease. There's no way to tell definitively without running tests to see if the individual is contagious. Universal precautions state that at first contact, the caregiver should always assume that there is a bloodborne pathogens involved and prepare themselves for that likelihood.

Universal precautions can include the use of rubber gloves, face masks, eye protection or clear visor, hair cover, shoe covers, and even full bodysuits depending on the severity of the problem. It is safer to assume that these fluids are positive and then rule it out, than it is to take a chance that an infection might be spread.

Why is it Important to Monitor for Infection?

When working as a caregiver, properly diagnosing an infection can mean the difference between life and death for the individual. You should always make sure that you check any abnormal-looking areas on the skin, and note if anything changes such as demeanor or physical condition. These can all be signs that there is an infection wreaking havoc with their system. This will allow the caregiver to inform the care team of any issues that they come across so that it can be corrected as soon as possible.

What Should I Do if I Suspect an Infection?

As a caregiver, the main thing that should be done if you suspect an infection is to inform the care team. Make sure that you follow up with them to ensure that they take the appropriate steps. Once you have reported the problem, ensure that you follow the instructions of the healthcare team as closely as possible to help remedy the problem. This can include anything from certain types of medications to stop the infection to wound care that will ensure that the area is free of any irritant that could worsen the problem.

In Conclusion

Just to reiterate, when taking care of an individual, if you notice any kind of a change in appearance, mood or ability, these can all be signs that an infection is occurring. Be sure that you always alert your care team of what is going on so that they can help get the individual back to a healthy state. As a caregiver, it is important to make sure that the individual you are caring for is able to live their best life and are as free as possible from infections. 



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