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Mental Illness: Why and How Nurses Prevent Infection?

Mental Illness: Why and How Nurses Prevent Infection?

Are you a nurse? Or, are you training to become one? Know that your role in helping patients with mental illnesses is very crucial.

Mental illnesses are very prevalent in the country today. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), mental illnesses affect about 1 in every 5 Americans. Furthermore, the NIMH says this statistics covers facets of mental illnesses from mild to severe. In 2017 alone, the estimated number of Americans with any mental and any serious mental illness has reached 46.6 million.

Nursing care professionals are at the forefront of attending to the care needs of individuals with mental illnesses. Additionally, adequate nursing care is also necessary for helping reduce the risks of infection. Because of this, quality healthcare training in Illinois is even more crucial for nurses.

Why is infection prevention crucial for patients with mental illnesses?

A person’s state of mental illness puts them at high risk of infection. Consider the following:

  • Patients with mental illnesses are required to be with other patients during group therapy. This exposure puts them at risk to airborne viruses such as of flu or tuberculosis.
  • Patients are also prone to violent behaviors. These trigger physical attacks and exposure to bloodborne pathogens such as saliva.
  • Patients with mental challenges are also prone to engaging in sexual activities. Because of this, they are at risk of sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Inflicting physical harm is also common in patients with mental illnesses, which exposes their body to infection.

How do nurses take steps in preventing infection?

Indeed, the challenges are great for nurses who provide behavioral care. For this reason, the quality of their practical nursing training is necessary. Nurses are expected to handle infection prevention steps such as the following:

  • Risk Assessment
    Nurses are tasked to evaluate the risks of infection for every patient admitted to urgent care, hospital, or any behavioral care facility. This includes safety assessments of the patient’s location to ensure that risks for self-harm are low.
  • Ensures Prevention Measures
    Furthermore, nurses see to it that infection prevention measures are in place. They implement and monitor the implementation of proper hand-washing. In the absence of soap and running water, they ensure that alcohol-based hand sanitizers are available for use. They also secure masks and gloves to prevent patients from passing on or receiving an infectious virus.
  • Disinfecting Equipment
    Nurses are also crucial in disinfecting and sterilizing the reusable care equipment used for the patient. They are well-versed in determining which equipment is a high risk for accidental use or easy infection.

What’s the next step for nurses?

Attaining a nursing degree is a crucial foundation for quality nursing care. However, nurses are even more encouraged to pursue healthcare training programs in Hanover Park, Illinois so their specialization is even more focused. If you’re interested in further training in health care, feel free to inquire at New Lake College. Contact us anytime.

Feel free to share with fellow nursing professionals!

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