INFECTION CONTROL AND OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH

* Hours of Operation: Monday – Thursday 7:00 am – 3:00 pm

North Shore Health Network believes that infection prevention and control is vital for our patient safety. The primary purpose of infection control in hospitals is to prevent our already sick patients from developing additional acquired infections As a result, the hospital has adopted a hand-hygiene campaign supporting the fact that hand hygiene is the single most effective way to prevent health care-associated infections and the spread of antimicrobial resistance organisms. All visitors, staff, students and volunteers are asked to clean their hands when entering the hospital.

Infection controls are put in place as preventative measures to stop the spread of illnesses and diseases within the NSHN Blind River Site and the community.  We offer health services such as influenza immunization to employees, and infection control education to all staff and the community.  We stress the importance of hand hygiene as many diseases/infections can be prevented from spreading with this simple routine.  NSHN Blind River Site has maintained a 82.9% flu vaccination rate among staff which has lead us to be one of the highest percentages in the Algoma District for the 2014-15 year.

The Occupational Health Department is responsible for the general health and safety of the employees and visitors to the NSHN Blind River site. The Occupational Health nurse performs many duties such as planning, developing and directing occupational health service activities and programs; counseling and referring employees as required; communicating/collaborating with others on health and safety issues and related policy development; and developing and maintaining complete and accurate health records of individual employees (health and work histories, results of health examinations, medical and lab reports, health surveillance, immunizations, etc).

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) Group Program provides incentives for workplaces to develop sustainable health and safety programs, rewards demonstrated achievements in health and safety and supports mentoring and networking within the group to achieve success.

Standard Precautions are practices that are used to protect staff, volunteers from exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials. By assuming that each patient is infected with a communicable disease, you can prevent the spread of illness or injury to yourself or others by following these routine techniques:

 Standard Practices and Precautions used at NSHN

Wearing Gloves

Wear gloves whenever you may come at risk of touching any blood or body fluids when handling items or surfaces that may be soiled with blood or body fluids. Gloves shall be worn when one’s hands are chafed, an inflammation of the skin, hangnail, or small cut is present.

Disposable gloves are to be used on only  one patient, then removed (before leaving patient room) and discarded. After removing the gloves, hand-hygiene is to be done prior to leaving the room. Gloves are located in patient rooms/and/or nursing units.

Latex Sensitivity/Allergies

Symptoms include dry, flaky or itchy, a rash or hives. Advise your Volunteer Coordinator immediately if you experience symptom or a latex allergy. A list of latex-containing products within the hospital is available.

You may see staff wearing protective gear such as masks and/or protective eye equipment. They are worn if splashing is known to occur. Gowns are worn if soiling with blood or body fluids is likely.

Needles and Sharps: What is a Sharp?

A Sharp is defined as anything capable of penetrating the skin or any part of the body (i.e. needles, knives, scissors, broken glass). When handling a sharp, consider what would be the safest methods for handling the item and do you need to communicate to others around you the presence of the sharp. If you discover used needles or other sharp objects, contact a nurse, other health care worker or your NSHN contact.  Do not try and dispose of this yourself,  get assistance.

If you get a needle stick or sharps injury, notify an employee to obtain medical attention.
 

Precaution Signs Used at NSHN

A number of precaution signs may be in use at NSHN at different times. It is important that these precaution signs are followed for both your safety and the safety of our staff, patients and residents.  If you are unsure of the meaning of the sign or what to do, please ask your NSHN contact or any staff member.  Visitors are advised not to enter a patient’s room marked with an Isolation/Precaution Sign unless directed or supervised by a NSHN staff member. A member of the nursing staff will educate visitors about additional precautions that should be taken.