For infection control, the nursing assistant has to ensure that the hospital area is properly disinfected and the equipment used for procedures or patient care is sterilized effectively.
Maintaining a safe environment
The nursing assistant uses certain strategies for decontaminating, cleaning and sterilizing equipment and hospital areas. The strategies differ for small spots of blood or vomit, and larger spills.
The first step is to promptly remove the spots and spills. The next step is to clean and disinfect the area.
In case of small blood or fluid spills, the area can be cleaned with detergent solution.
In case of large blood or fluid spills, the nursing assistants should do the following:
- Use paper towels to remove the spill.
- Use forceps to remove any broken material such as glass.
- Use absorbent material to soak up excess liquid.
- Ensure that the appropriate PPE is worn at all times.
Alcohol is not used to clean any spills. However, sometimes sodium hypochlorite is used to eliminate bloodborne and gastrointestinal viruses, and bacteria.
For equipment care, the nursing assistant should take the following actions:
- Ensure that all items are stored in such a way that their sterility is maintained.
- Dry, sterile and packaged equipment should be stored as instructed, as they may be used for critical procedures. They should be placed in a dry environment and away from sharp objects that may damage their packing.
- Ensure that equipment that is dysfunctional, or cannot be cleaned, disinfected or sterilized is discarded immediately.
- Sterilize equipment such as endoscopes after each patient use, as it is used for invasive procedures.