It is strange to state that the sector rigorously engaged in providing health also causes several health hazards to its workers in routine. It means evading health risks is probably impossible, irrespective of the field.
Thus healthcare professionals also deal with various risks, including biological, chemical, environmental, physical, psychological, and even social hazards while working in the sector. For instance, a surgical procedure exposes workers to blood inhibited infections, instrument-related incisions, and pricks.
Similarly, they are constantly exposed to hazardous rays while working in a radiotherapy department. Accidents with equipment and mishaps in laboratories expose them to dangerous pathogens, including viral and bacterial.
Most importantly, professionals remain in constant fear that they may acquire hospital-based diseases and transfer them to their loved ones. Workers’ over cautiousness causes them a psychological burden and even leads to serious healthcare problems, such as anxiety and depression.
It is because healthcare professionals’ safety is vital and a prerequisite to ensure patient safety. Thus institutional efforts and safety policies are essential to enhance workers’ protection. The following sections discuss some of the necessary safety guidelines for the well-being of healthcare professionals.
1. Provide protective equipment and ensure utilization
Protective equipment is an unavoidable safety measure within the healthcare sector. Without protective equipment, it is impossible to prevent health hazards for patients and healthcare staff. Professionals cannot even ensure patients’ hygiene during treatment procedures.
As such, bacteria inhibiting in their clothes and hands can come in contact with instruments and patients. Thus using protective gear can prevent accidental transfer of pathogens and diseases from patients to healthcare workers and vice versa.
For instance, you can find reusable isolation gowns for sale and other protective apparel from Medical Link. These PPEs offer protection from infectious contacts and are also environment friendly.
These premium quality gowns can minimize several healthcare dangers while performing frontline duties. In addition, there are several varieties of gowns, from medium to heavyweight and multi-ply to multilayer options.
It is important to note that personal protection is not complete without hand gloves, surgical mask, protective goggles, head and shoe cover. In essence, these are unavoidable shields against frontline risks and contagious encounters. However, riskier operations also require extensive and specialized protection.
2. Ensure sanitation, fumigation, and ventilation of the facility
Since a healthcare facility caters to diverse patients and diseases, patients may cough, sneeze, through up, bleed, and discharge several pathogens in the surrounding. As a result, fellow patients and healthcare professionals are prone to catching several diseases spreading through physical and airborne contact.
Thus frequent sanitization and fumigations of the facility can reduce the contagious and infecting agents. Otherwise, a favorable environment facilitates pathogens to multiply and colonize. It is why minimizing hospital-based contaminations and infections are a few of the grave concerns of patient care objectives.
In such cases, hospitals should utilize several disinfecting agents, such as water, soaps, detergents, alcohol, and its variants (ethyl and isopropyl), chlorine, and sodium hypochlorite. It is equally important to use only permitted and prescribed antimicrobial agents. Otherwise, routine usage of hazardous chemicals can cause breathing and skin problems, leading to dermatological and respiratory diseases.
In addition, ensure that the facility is well-ventilated as it is necessary for reducing and diluting crowding-related moisture, temperature, and pollutants. Similarly, a frequent crossing of the fresh air also takes away medicinal and bodily odors.
3. Administer and oversee implementation of safety measures
Even though healthcare protocols prerequisite and bound the healthcare facility to implement safety measures, ensuring execution is crucial. Sometimes, workers skip or neglect safety measures during packed schedules or emergencies.
Off rush hours and a less demanding routine may also relax them to perceive safety. Irrespective of the scenario, overlooking safety protocols can lead to dangerous outcomes for workers and patients.
Thus installing an overseeing mechanism is crucial to ensure the implementation of safety guidelines. As such, install cameras and inform employees about compliance monitoring. As a result, they will be more likely to practice safety measures under continuous and strict observation.
Additionally, instructions on the nature, purpose, and application procedure of protective protocols are equally important. Unaware workers can expose themselves to even more dangers while misusing or misinterpreting protective guidelines.
For instance, laundry staff can endanger themselves to several infections while disinfecting or discarding hospital equipment and waste if they do not follow safety guidelines in sequence. Thus prior training and practical drilling are inevitable in preparing them for real situations and minimizing healthcare risks.
4. Administer duty hours and manage workers’ mobility
Since healthcare duties are not free from field-related demands and challenges, a tiring schedule can further contribute to healthcare risks for workers. For instance, extensive duty hours, frequent physical and mental exertion increases their chances of musculoskeletal ailments.
Studies report that musculoskeletal issues categorize as leading healthcare issues in healthcare employees. For instance, nurses catering to bedridden patients are prone to pressure and weight-related musculoskeletal injuries.
It is because exhausted workers do not get sufficient time to relax and subside physical and mental stress. Workers’ already strained bodies cannot carry out movements and activities requiring agility.
Similarly, extensive sitting activities can lead to back, neck, and hip pain in physicians. Lengthy surgical procedures and static positions can increase blood pooling in legs and muscular pain in surgeons and the support staff.
As a result of bodily stiffness, even occasionally abrupt and uncalculated movements can increase their chances of acquiring varying muscular and skeletal injuries.
Thus engaging in health-benefiting physiological movements is essential during packed schedules. Similarly, maintaining supportive postures can be helpful while dealing with pressure demanding activities, such as patient and equipment handling.
Most importantly, incorporating flexibility in workers’ schedules is fundamental to reduce the likelihood of healthcare risks.
Undeniably, the healthcare sector falls among the riskiest sectors regarding workers’ safety and well-being. Routine operations expose healthcare professionals to several challenges, such as interactions with piercing instruments, laboratory-borne pathogens, infectious diseases, overwork, and bodily strain.
Thus implementing and supervising healthcare guidelines is essential to minimizing accidents and healthcare challenges. It is how healthcare professionals can ensure patients’ safety and successful conduct of the healthcare facility.