Infection Control on the Job: The Post-Patient Period
After a patient has been examined and the appropriate disposition is made, further infection control measures should be taken.
WASH YOUR HANDS!
The most important measure, which can not be emphasized enough, is to wash your hands after contact with each patient.
****NOTE: Wearing gloves is not a substitute for washing hands.
Decontaminate all equipment, including the ambulance, after an emergency call is complete. Decontamination should be performed while wearing personal protective equipment. This is important as infectious agents may still be present, even though the patient is not. Furthermore, certain chemicals used in the cleaning process can be hazardous. Use a disinfectant that is capable of destroying all microorganisms, including any microbial spores that may be present. Dispose of all biohazards appropriately.
Lastly, a thorough decontamination of yourself is important, to literally prevent taking the work home! Take a change of clothes with you to work, so as not to wear the uniform home. In addition, disinfect and handle uniforms according to your agency’s standard procedures.