The aim of this essay is to look at how infection control and the theatre environment impact on a patient undergoing surgery. The first part of the essay looks at infection control in the hospital setting in general; touching on issues such as hospital ac
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INTRODUCTION Infection and its prevention have been a prime concern of mankind for a long time. "Infection is a condition that results when a microorganism is able to invade the body, multiply and cause injurious effect or diseases." (McCall & Tankersley, 2007:71) Infection control therefore refers to policies and procedures used to minimize the risk of spreading infections, especially in hospitals and human or animal health care facilities. The purpose of this is to reduce the occurrence of infectious diseases. The aim of this essay is to look at how infection control and the theatre environment impact on a patient undergoing surgery. The first part of the essay looks at infection control in the hospital setting in general; touching on issues such as hospital acquired infection like Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) and Clostridium Difficile (CD). Then the essay delves into the design of the surgical theatre and how it impacts on patients; it further talks about surgical etiquette placing much emphasis on hand washing as this is the first defence in preventing transmission of pathogen (Radford et al, 2004). Finally a conclusion is drawn on all the issues raised and their impact on the patient undergoing surgery. In the past, surgery would have been performed in a convenient location such as the patient's home or a hospital ward with only basic infection control in place (Essex-Lopresti 1999). In Phillips (2004) describes the process for preparing the room as rudimentary, amounting to little more than removing furniture and non essential items and boiling linen, perhaps fumigation if time allows. Today, most surgery takes place in operating theatres that are specially designed for that purpose.
Infection control as defined earlier as policies and procedures use to minimize the risk of spreading infection, staff do not always go by this policies and guidelines. For example policies on air movement in the department, normally doors between the anaesthetic room and theatre are mostly left open by staff therefore affecting the positive pressure from working effectively. Staff need constant trainings and made aware of updated policies. These measures will help to control infection. According to Woodhead et al (2005), 300 million skin squames are shed per day and about 10% of this have microorganisms of which smaller particles stay as airborne for some hours. Some big particles may rest on work surfaces, furniture and equipment. 37% of airborne microbial contamination can be reduced if in every 3 minutes air is changed in the theatre. Different type of waste should be separated and disposed of in the right way. All waste known, or considered to cause disease in humans or other living organisms is considered infectious waste (DH, 2006). In the authors trust yellow is the colour coding for clinical waste which can cause a risk of infection or can be hazardous. Green bags for the linens. All waste bags should not be more than three quarters full (Davey & Ince, 2004) and it is the duty of the staff to ensure that and dispose off in the appropriate manner to meet the requirement of the control of substances hazardous to health regulation (COSHH). Maintaining a safe and clean environment is essential for a good impact upon surgical patients, but staff themselves can be a source of microbial contaminated (Green et al, 2003).
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