Infection Control on the Job: Initial Response
All responses to emergency calls require a high index of suspicion of the potential for transmission of infectious agents. Therefore, it is important for you to develop a pro-active attitude toward infection control on each and every call.
First, try to obtain as much information from dispatch as possible. Inquire about any potential infectious fluids present at the scene and the nature of the patient’s illness or injury. This may be especially pertinent when transporting a patient from one healthcare institution to another.
Next, perform a scene survey to evaluate the potential for disease transmission. For example, does the emergency involve a bed-ridden patient, in a confined room, who is coughing? Or, does the emergency involve a high impact accident with glass strewn everywhere and a patient who is bleeding? When surveying the scene, be sure to determine what personal protective equipment will be needed. Remember that, at a minimum, you should wear gloves during each call. If treating multiple patients, remember to change gloves in between each patient.