Home Health Care

“By following basic infection control practices, Dupont.com stresses, “ home care workers can help protect themselves and their patients from the spread of infection.”

Not unlike the hospital setting, where, as explained in the Lippincott Nursing Center Journal, home healthcare workers need to take both standard precautions (such as hand hygiene and environment cleaning) and also transmission-based precautions.

Unfortunately, as the authors of an article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal note, note, “many of the existing recommendations followed in health care facilities cannot easily be transferred to the community or home because of limitations in the environment or resources or the inability to implement measures.”  For example, the use of masks, gowns and gloves to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses may be impractical and unrealistic in the home.

Still, with home health care the fastest growing sector in the health care industry, it is important to identify risk factors that affect patient health and safety, as a now ten year old study published by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality argued. In addition to all the risks present in the hospital setting (air contamination, surface contamination, transfer of fluids), residential settings may contain additional risks, including:

  • household-related hazards (poor indoor air quality, toxic paint and other substances, for example)
  • uncontrolled conditions
  • catheter use
  • health care providers often have little to no supervision

Hand washing is regarded as the most important measure among the various protective measures applied against infection, Akihiro Kitazawa writes in the Japan Medical Association Journal. In the home care practice setting, it is recommended that the hands be washed after examining a patient in their home, using running water for at least 15 seconds, rather than pooled water in a wash bowl.

At Action Products, two principles are at the heart of the design of all home health care products, which are made of 100% Akton® polymer:

  • Pressure injury prevention

Rehabilitation pads and cushions, wheelchair cushions, and mattress overlays distribute weight and heat, never requiring kneading, pumping or inflating.

  • Infection control

Pads and cushions will not leak or flow and or easy to clean and maintain.

Many ritualistic, arbitrary practices have been codified in home care and hospice organizations, an article titled “Improving Infection Control in Home Care” points out.  The “rituals” result in practices that are unnecessary and wasteful of resources. Scientifically based practices, in contrast, include categorizing items:

  • Noncritical (items which touch only intact skin), require cleaning or low-level disinfection only when soiled.
  • Semicritical items (such as thermometers and respiratory equipment) require intermediate level disinfection.
  • Critical items (items which contact sterile body spaces such as bladder or venous system) should be discarded.

Caregivers - Do try infection prevention measures at home!