Residents live and eat in close quarters, producing abundant opportunities for infection outbreaks to occur. The spread of infection in aged care is...
Infection control and handheld devices
The use of handheld devices, including tablets and smartphones, has transformed clinical practice and has led to improved consumer outcomes. However, normal use of handheld devices leads to a large amount of microbial surface contamination.
Infection transmission in Aged Care
Communal living in residential care increases contact between people and increases the risk of infection.
The risk of infection further increases when consumers have difficulties with daily living activities e.g. toileting.
In Aged Care facilities, consumers and staff are the most likely sources of infectious agents.
Care workers’ hands are a likely source of transmission of infectious agents to consumers.
Handheld devices in Aged Care
The use of handheld devices, including tablets and smartphones, has transformed clinical practice and has led to improved consumer outcomes.
However, normal use of handheld devices leads to a large amount of microbial surface contamination.
Any germ that has found its way onto a screen is easily transferred to the next user.
Due to COVID-19, restrictions have been placed on the number of visitors to a facility as well as how long a visitor may stay.
Consumers are now using handheld devices to communicate with family and friends outside their facilities.
In some cases this means staff and consumers are sharing these devices, increasing the risk of infection transmission.
Reducing the risk of transmission
Infection outbreak preparedness is a government mandated requirement.
- Identifying possible sources of infection transmission
- Identifying ways to reduce the risk of infection transmission
With the world now facing an unprecedented situation, the need for new policies and processes has arisen.
“Aged Care facilities should be developing policies and processes to manage mobile handheld device hygiene
with an objective to reducing the risk of infection transmission”.
Finding solutions and reducing risk
Some ideas you can implement:
- Regular disinfection using isopropanol wipes at the start and end of each shift
- Automatic reminders set on all devices to disinfect
- Hand hygiene
- Adding ‘before and after using a handheld device’ to the WHO 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene
- Strategically placed computer stations holding hand sanitiser, disinfectant wipes and computer keyboard covers that can be removed for cleaning
- Using antimicrobial screen protectors or cases
No doubt more products will be developed to protect us from infection transmission risks as time goes on.
UV light is being used by Phonesoap to sanitise your phone while it charges.
Whilst we wait for other technologies we need to continue good hand hygiene and regular disinfection of our devices.