Safety First: Standard Precautions in the Operating Department.

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Safety First: Standard Precautions in the Operating Department.

Contents
Introduction……………………………………………………………………………………2 What are Standard Precautions…………………………………………………………….2 When are Standard Precautions used.........................................................................3 Who do Standard Precautions affect in the Operating Department.............................4 What methods are used in Standard Precautions………………………………………..5 Author’s Experience………………………………………………………………………….8 Summary……………………………………………………………………………………...9 References………………..…………………………………………………………………11

Safety First: Standard Precautions in the Operating Department. Introduction.

In this assignment, the author will discuss the role of the Operating Department Practitioner (O.D.P) in relation to the use of Standard Precautions and how this is applied in practice. In discussing this topic the author will cover; * What are Standard Precautions?

* When are Standard Precautions used?
* Who do Standard Precautions affect in the Operating Theatre? * What are the methods used in Standard Precautions?
The author will also look at the local and national policies surrounding Standard Precautions and how this is linked to other clinical issues, such as hand washing, sharps and the wider topic of Infection Control.

What are standard precautions?
Standard Precautions were introduced under the name ‘universal precautions’ in the U.S.A in the 1980’s as a guide to protect health workers from Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Hepatitis viruses. It is the concept that all bodily fluids are assumed to be infectious and the necessary, protective precautions are taken (McCulloch et al 2000). There are several reasons why this was an important step towards what is now considered effective infection control in a clinical setting; firstly, it minimises the risk of infection to either the health care worker or patient. Secondly, it meant that patients are not discriminated against and are all treated equally because unfair assumptions are not made of them. [REF] More specifically, standard precautions encompass a broad range of practices and techniques that are used in order to minimise the spread of infection. In the Operating Theatre, standard precautions are vitally important due to the fact that the practitioner will almost certainly be exposed to bodily fluids, therefore items such as the surgical glove are extremely important; in this area the surgical glove is the most preventative barrier to contamination (Bernthal 2000.) this is linked to the role of the O.D.P in the surgical role as they will be wearing surgical gloves on a regular basis. Standard precautions are closely linked with the broader topic of infection control and include practices such as hand washing to achieve optimum hand hygiene to minimise the transfer of bacteria and infection, the use of gloves, gowns, face masks, goggles, aprons and other protective clothing known as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), safe handling of sharps, good waste management and good training and education for everyone involved in patient care, be it directly or indirectly to achieve minimal risk to practitioner or patient. (Harrup 2010). When are Standard Precautions used?

Standard Precautions are applicable to all roles that the O.D.P undertakes and therefore apply to all areas of the Operating Theatre although the techniques and requirements may vary from area to area, for example; surgical hand washing in practice will rarely be used in a recovery role but O.D.Ps working in that role still have a responsibility to adhere to the local policy. In contrast, there are many techniques and procedures that must be adhered to that are applicable to every part of the role of an O.D.P. for example; Nottingham University Hospitals Trust Hand Hygiene Policy (2009) states that: “Hands that are visibly soiled or contaminated with dirt or organic material must be washed with liquid soap and...
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