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2007 Standard Precautions Policy
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Standard Precautions

Page updated 30 April 2007

Standard Precautions

Key Points

Prevent blood / body substance contact with non-intact skin and mucous membranes

Minimise blood / body substance contact
with intact skin

Prevent sharps injuries

Immunise staff against hepatitis B virus
(See Sharps Injury Policy)

Prevent contaminated items being used between patients (See Disinfection Policy)

All precautions should be allied to good skin care and safe infection control practices at all times in order to protect both staff and patients

Introduction

All blood and body fluids are potentially infectious and it is not always known whether a patient has a disease that can be transmitted via blood (WHO, 2003). Body fluids which contain large numbers or micro-organisms are a major source of pathogens. Therefore, Standard Precautions, as well as protecting Healthcare Workers from infection and blood borne viruses, could prevent transmission of many other pathogens, and make a contribution to the reduction of hospital acquired infections.

Because any patient may carry organisms that could potentially cause infection, hands must always be decontaminated appropriately (See Hand Hygiene) and Personal Protective Equipment should be used (See Uniforms). If universal precautions are effectively practised, patients and carers will be protected from infection transmission, whatever procedure is being undertaken and whatever the diagnosis of the patient.

United Kingdom Department of Health 1998 Guidelines on Standard Precautions: