Thursday, June 27, 2013

Friendly is Not Safety

Towel used to clean patient's bed
The room is lovely.  An oversized couch, a recliner and another high back chair. There is plenty of shelf space in the single occupancy room and downstairs a cafeteria that is inexpensive and open until 1:00 AM.  In most cases staff are friendly and accommodating offering me coffee, blankets and comfort items.  I can use the patient’s bathroom, ask questions and am accepted as part of the patient’s team – until I asked the first nurse who walked in the door to please wash her hands.   She grudgingly did so but also told me that it dries her hands if she does it too often and she did before she walked in the room.   “I didn’t fly all these miles here to have this patient contract an infection” I told her jokingly.  She used the gel in front of me.   I also requested early on, that the patient reviews all medications that she gets.  The patient agreed that the “order” came from her and not me.  Word may have traveled since others who have come into the room have scrubbed what seemed to be up to their armpits.  Some don’t.

When one tech came in and I asked him to wash, he told me that the antibacterial gel is better.  I told him that antibacterial gel does not get rid of c-diff infection.  His response “we don’t have c-diff in our hospital”.

Before the patient arrived from surgery and after I watched the tail end of the staff clean her room.  I went in, with the hospitals own antibacterial wipes and with my gloved hands wiped down the side rails of the bed.  With the patient’s 2 friends watching, as I explained to them what and why I was doing that, the photo below is the dirt that came off just around the bed area.

I continued to wipe down the door knobs and the doors, remote control, call bell, sink and tray table.  Anything someone might touch including the marker that is used to write the nurses name on the white board.  Since I got into the room before the patient, I was able to wipe down the IV pole, screens that are touched to set alarms and the computer keyboard and mouse next to the bed.  All came up dusty if not dirty.

This patient, who has open wounds from major surgery is susceptible to infection at many different points.  Though everyone is friendly and accommodating, I just can’t help but not feel this patient is still lacking some basic safe care that is obviously not consistent to everyone who works here.

Following are some links about C-diff

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