Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Infection Control and Routine Practices

  • Reusable medical equipment should be cleaned, disinfected or sterilized between client use in adherence to national and provincial regulations and requirements (e.g., Health Canada or Provincial Ministries of Health).
  • Any single use item (e.g., tourniquets, vacutainers) will remain with the client.
  • Routine practices include:
  1. Hand hygiene;
    • Hand hygiene also includes maintaining hand health, avoiding nail polish, artificial nails or jewellery and keeping nails trimmed and clean.
    • Hand hygiene is the single most important infection prevention and control practice.
  2. Assessment of client risk factors;
    • Assessing client risk factors helps the nurse to determine the level of protection required by the client.
    • Factors to consider include:
      • Immunosuppression;
      • Coagulopathies;
      • Signs and symptoms of infection;
      • History of exposure to infectious disease; and
      • Client response during site assessment.
  3. Screening
    • The nurse should also screen families and visitors for illness in order to protect the client from potential risk.
    • Client screening for infectious diseases is ongoing and encompasses client feedback (e.g., verbalized concerns regarding discomfort from IV site, chills, etc.)
  4. Hazard or risk reduction; and
    • Risk reduction strategies begin at the source (e.g., having the client who is coughing wear a mask during CVAD care); and can include procedural changes to the care performed by the nurse to reduce the risk (e.g., using safety engineered devices, proper disposal of infectious waste.
  5. Application of personal protective equipment (PPE)
    • Application of personal protective equipment (PPE) is used to reduce or control any of the risks identified as a result of the screening and risk assessment.
    • PPE includes, but is not limited to: gloves; eye protection; gowns; and masks.
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Point of Care Resources