June 19, 2012
Vitals: BP: 90/60, Temp: 36.6, O2 Sat: 96, HR: 62, RR: 16
HOMECARE ESSENTIALS 11: HOME ASEPTIC TECHNIQUES
We know how important hygiene is, and at home, even when no one was sick, we are careful about germs. But now that we have a patient, we exercise extra caution.
Comatose patients are obviously prone to infection. They do not move so they couldn’t activate their immune system, and the body is still healing from the brain injury. The fact that most of the important reflexes such as coughing, sneezing, and spitting are stopped means the germs can spread rapidly.
So at home, we are careful about our aseptic techniques, such as:
- Establishing a sterile, isolated area for Melit. In her room, in which we control the entry of people and the room temperature\
- Use of clean and sterile materials for feeding and other bedside care.\
- Label everything so that they will be used for specific purpose. Example: green face towels for perineal, blue for sponge bath, pink for feeding, orange for saliva and yellow for tears.
- Wear masks and gloves for important functions like suctioning, perineal care, and feeding
- Practice personal hygiene before entering her room, use of alcohol, wash hands, or take a bath if you are from a crowded area before you enter Melit’s room
THIS WE LEARNED ALONG THE WAY
And yet, as we learned the hard way, sometimes the germs are already inside her body, and colonized rapidly when her body is weak. That is how she got septicemia, and why we signed a DNR, more on this later. Yes, germs attacked her body to the point that doctors already gave her a few hours to live.