Ten infection prevention commandments for medical staff

Thanks Craig Boutlis who helped me develop these some time back. Nothing has changed much yet!

  1. Always disinfect your hands with alcohol-based hand rub BEFORE and AFTER touching a patient or performing a procedure. Set the example for your team and expect others to follow your lead.
  2. Dress well for safer care – abandon ties and lanyards, bare your arms to the elbow – no wrist watches or jewelry.  See also this recent discussion about dress codes for doctors.
  3. Insist on the provision of alcohol-based hand rubs at the patient bedside and in your clinic/rooms.
  4. Take alcohol-impregnated wipes on your ward rounds to disinfect equipment, such as stethoscopes or tendon hammers  between use on every patient.
  5. Ensure your team follows a standard, methodical, aseptic approach for all invasive procedures (e.g. IV line insertion).
  6. Invasive devices are potentially dangerous – remove them as soon as you can (within 3 days for peripheral cannulae).
  7. Target antimicrobial therapy – consult Therapeutic Guidelines: Antibiotic for the most appropriate agent(s), dose, route and duration.  Review patient at 48-72hrs- change may be indicated.
  8. Be the first on your team to have the influenza vaccine every year and make it known to others.
  9. If you’re not receiving regular, relevant feedback about healthcare-associated infections like MRSA involving your patients, then you’re missing out – insist on it!
  10. Look beyond the obvious when seeking source(s) of infection. Surgical wound and device-related infection may be present even in the absence of visible local inflammation.

Ferguson, Internal Medicine Journal 39 (2009) 574–581 .

One comment

  1. […] are not yet utilised by all clinicians every time they interact with a patient (See recent post Ten Infection Control Commandments ) .  This leads to increased risk of infection for patients, demonstrated in healthcare associated […]


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