Karen Novak, Director of Health Services, Smith Care Center

Preventing the spread of infection has been a key component of healthcare since the work of Semmelweis in the 1840s.  Currently, the problem of drug-resistant microbes—“superbugs” such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)—is the subject of attention as transmission becomes a wider problem both inside the healthcare system and in the community.  Preventing antimicrobial resistance requires special strategies that go beyond traditional infection control, such as implementing policies for the judicious use of antimicrobial medications.

The spread of infection is best described as a chain with six links:

The chain of infection is the foundation of infection prevention.  If you can break any link in the chain, you can prevent the spread of infection.  Infection control measures are designed to break the links.  We can eliminate the causative organism by several methods including:

  • Hand hygiene, which physically removes and/or kills germs on the hands
  • Using good food safety methods
  • Providing safe drinking water
  • Vaccinating people so they do not become reservoirs for infectious agents
  • Treating people who are ill

Linens and Laundry

According to the CDC, except for soiled textiles from patients in isolation, the risk of actual disease transmission from soiled laundry is negligible.  Plymouth Harbor’s laundry facilities are inspected annually and meet all the requirements established by the Agency for Healthcare Administration (AHCA).  Linen is bagged separately when any resident has an illness that could be contagious, as indicated by our health services staff.  These items are washed separately from other linen when it arrives in the Plymouth Harbor laundry.  Staff wear protective gloves and aprons when processing soiled linens.

After all of the facts have been presented and all the suggestions and requirements for preventing the transmission of disease have been made, there remains one controlling factor.  That factor is YOU.  Remember: Spread the Word, Not the Germs!