Ensuring your vet clinic is in tip top condition and adhering to hygiene best practices should always be front of mind.
Good infection prevention strategies protect not only patients, but owners and veterinary professionals as well.
But there are a lot of places where things can go wrong. In this blog we breakdown the key areas you’ll need to lockdown to ensure good infection control.
So, let’s get into it…
First off, let’s make it clear that gloves are NOT a substitute for proper hand hygiene. Now we’ve got that out of the way let’s take a look at best practice when it comes to hand hygiene.
The main thing here we want to look out for is the spread of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). These are essentially just infections that patient’s development whilst receiving treatment. Many of these are actually preventable.
HAIs if left unchecked can have devasting effects on patients, and add a whole load of avoidable stress. They can also damage your clinic reputation, which is something we definitely want to avoid.
Now the most important thing to stop the spread of these is to monitor areas of contact. This is the most important mode of transmission for HAIs.
So, we’re talking about points of contacts such as:
- Direct body surface-to-body surface (any contact with patients)
- Contact with an inanimate object or environmental surface (kennel & cage doors, leashes, exam tables)
- Contact of another animal or person that has been contaminated by the original source (shaking a pet owner’s hand, contact with other staff)
So, this is where hand hygiene plays a vital role. A key player in this fight are alcohol-based hand sanitisers. These are widely used throughout the medical industry and within infection control.
So even if your hands are not visibly soiled these sanitisers will get rid of any germs of HAIs no problem.
These can be easily placed around your practice, and in key rooms so it’s always fronts of mind for staff.
Benefits of ABHR’s:
- Superior ability to kill microorganisms on the skin
- Quick application
- Less likely to cause skin damage
- Can be made readily available at almost any point of care.
Of course, if these are not available most of the unwelcome bacteria on your hands will be dealt with by washing, rinsing and drying your hands. Even if you were wearing gloves before.
Hand washing with soap and running water must be performed when hands are visibly soiled.
Make sure it’s clear to staff what the protocol to follow is. Check out this handy reminder below.
As you’ll know vets have a lot of equipment they use to carry out their jobs. As this is another area where things will be in contact with patients and people its decontamination is vital here.
Whilst you’ll need to clean any large equipment, such as x-rays by hand you can decrease the workload here slightly.
By using a washer disinfector you can clean a lot of your equipment in bulk and you’ll know it’s been decontaminated the best it can be.
Make sure you keep note of all your equipment, don’t leave it lying around. Once used you’ll want to put it in a specific place to it isn’t used again. It could even go straight into the disinfector.
Veterinary clinics by their own nature are high traffic areas, so you’re going to have a lot of people and pets coming and going. Each bringing in their own potential germs that can spread further.
You’re going to need to keep on top of this every day and the rooms in your clinic are another key focus.
Waiting Room Area
This will probably be the best place to start. This is where all animals will be, possibly slobbering everywhere and brining in fresh dirt. Combined with potentially ill animals that might vomit or have another form of accident on the floor.
You should of course deal with those type of occurrence as and when they happen. But at the end of each day its best practice to ensure this area is cleaned properly.
Make sure to address this area with a safe and effective disinfectant. Pay special attention to any areas of slobber.
You’ll also want to have a good broom that can sweep up all the animal hair and dust that has gathered throughout the day. On area to pay special attention to is your entrance/doorway.
Make sure to disinfect countertops, chair handles, desks and phones. Include the kitchenette or coffee type areas in this clean up as well. You don’t want to miss anything.
Next up on the cleaning hit list is your examination rooms. Following a similar procedure to the waiting room you’ll want to make sure everything is disinfected.
So, we’re talking the likes of countertops, pet scales, chairs and sink areas. Also, don’t forget to include cabinet and door handles in this. And those light switches!
Next up are your treatment rooms, where all types of pet messes can occur. Of course, this will probably have been dealt with during the day, but one final clean at the end of the day is recommended.
Any medical waste should have its own bin and disposal procedures outlined to staff.
And again, disinfectant needs to be properly used throughout this room. You are going to want to be diligent about tackling any pet slobber, accidents and all-around pet messes in here.
Make sure to sanitize everything in this room. You want to eliminate grime and any germs. Sweep up any pet hair you find. Always use safe and effective cleaning products.
If you have a staff kitchen, office area, restroom etc you’ll also want to make sure this is part of your cleaning checklist.
Just ensure to keep these tidy and free of any mess or food. You’ll need to sanitise these rooms as well with your new best pal, disinfectant.
Keeping these areas clean helps the staff run a smooth and happy office. It also stops your staff from spreading any potential germs.
To wrap up your vet clinic cleaning, empty all waste cans and replace bin liners. Then vacuum or mop up all your floors.
Follow the above and your veterinary clinic will be a shining example of hygiene best practices! Your patients will notice and appreciate your efforts as soon as they walk through the door!