STANDARD PRECAUTIONS *

Effective Date: 
Mon, 08/01/2011
Reviewed: 
Wed, 06/16/2021
Revised: 
Wed, 06/16/2021
Policy: 

OBJECTIVE

To reduce the risk of transmission of microorganisms from both recognized and unrecognized sources of infection in healthcare settings.

POLICY

  1. Standard Precautions (as defined above by the CDC) are foundational to the health care practice at the UCSC SHC.  All staff and personnel are trained and knowledgeable regarding the implementation of the Precautions as stated above.
  2. Hand hygiene (see ‘Hand Hygiene’ section of this manual) is practiced before and after contact with patients and all body substances, whether or not gloves are used.  If hands come in contact with blood or body fluids they are washed immediately with soap and water.
  3. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is utilized when contact with blood, OPIM, or pathogens is anticipated, i.e., gloves are worn when it is likely that hands will be in contact with blood and other body fluids. Other PPE includes impermeable gowns, face shields, masks (surgical & N-95s), and Powered Air Purifying Respirators.  See PPE Assessment.
  4. Used needles and sharps are handled carefully and not recapped. Discard immediately after use into a sharps container.  All employees will notify their supervisors in the event of needle stick accidents, mucosal splashes, or contamination of open wounds with blood or body fluids.
  5. Ventilation devices such as mouthpieces, Ambu-bag, or other ventilation devices are used during CPR.
  6. Blood spills or body fluids will be cleaned up promptly with a disinfectant solution (such as a 10% bleach solution - 1 part bleach, 9 parts water) while wearing gloves.  (See CLEANING BODY SUBTANCE SPILLS policy)
  7. The 10% bleach solution is used to disinfect surfaces exposed to Clostridium difficile and for non-enveloped viruses such as adenovirus, norovirus and poliovirus or Ebola.
  8.  Laboratory specimens (all types) are to be handled as if infectious.
Procedure: 

1.      Staff routinely selects and uses appropriate barrier precautions to prevent skin and mucous membrane exposure when contact with blood or other body fluids of any patient can be anticipated.

2.      Contaminated or other sharp items are dealt with in a timely and safe manner by all personnel.  Items to be considered for Sharps Precautions include but are not limited to: contaminated sharp instruments or devices, contaminated scalpels, other contaminated sharp instruments or devices, contaminated dressings, specimen containers, and other exposure or clean-up procedures related to body fluids.

3.      Appropriate barrier precautions, e.g., personal protective equipment (PPE), are supplied by the SHC and are conveniently located throughout the Clinic.

STANDARD PRECAUTION TRAINING

1.   Upon hire, all new employees at occuational risk of exposure to blood borne pathogens and aerosolized transmissable diseases will be in-serviced on Standard and Universal Precautions and safe injection practices.

2.  There is annual in-service provided to all appropriate staff members regarding blood borne diseases and transmission of blood borne pathogens, universal precautions, aerosol transmitted diseases,  barrier protection garments (PPE), and safe injection practices.

3.      A list of employees receiving Standard and Universal Precautions training (new employees and annual training) will be kept on record in the UCSC Student Health Center.

Key Points: 

Standard precautions involve the use of protective barriers PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) such as gloves, gowns, aprons, masks, protective eyewear, leg coverings or booties, (or one piece impermeable suits) which can reduce the risk of exposure of the health care worker’s skin or mucous membranes to potentially infective materials.  In addition, under standard precautions, it is recommended that all health care workers take precautions to prevent injuries caused by needles, scalpels, and other sharp instruments or devices.  Potentially infectious materials include but are not limited to:

  1. Blood and all body fluids, secretions, and excretions except sweat.
  2. Non-intact skin and mucous membranes.

Standard Precautions are observed by all employees in all patient care areas to prevent contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials as prescribed in the guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

All health care workers routinely use appropriate barrier precautions to prevent skin and mucous membrane exposure during contact with any patient’s blood or body fluids, i.e. masks, face shields, etc.

“Blood and body fluid ‘Universal Precautions’ are applied consistently in the care of all patients because medical history and examination cannot reliably indentify all patients infected with HIV, Hepatitis virus or other blood borne or body fluid pathogens.”

DEFINITIONS

Historically, the term“Universal Precautions” (as defined in 1987 by the CDC), are a set of precautions designed to prevent transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), and other blood borne pathogens when providing first aid or health care.  Under Universal Precautions, blood and certain body fluids of all patients are considered infectious for HIV, HBV, and other blood borne pathogens.

The accepted term used now is STANDARD PRECAUTIONS.  “…Standard Precautionsare recommended by the CDC for reducing the risk of transmission of blood borne and other transmissible] pathogens.  The Standard Precautions synthesize the major features of Universal Precautions (…transmission of blood borne pathogens) and body substance isolation and apply them to all patients receiving care in a healthcare setting regardless of their diagnosis or presumed infection status.”

NOTE

Implementing Standard Precautions does not exclude the need for other isolation precautions, such as droplet precautions for influenza, airborne isolation for pulmonary tuberculosis, contact isolation for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) or non-enveloped viruses such as adenovirus, norovirus and poliovirus.