How the Community Health Nurse Can Break the Chain of Infection

How the Community Health Nurse Can Break the Chain of Infection

Social Determinants and Disease Development

Social determinants of health are conditions in which a person is born in to – social, economic and physical conditions to include resources and daily needs, biases, crime and violence statistics, community support, availability of sending and receiving communication, education quality and community, etc., each impacts an individuals daily activities, health, wellness and evidence of disease.  Individual behaviors will also support or not, the chain of events that lead to health or illness.  Although many circumstances may prevent wellness, it is up to the individual how these circumstances will impact their life.

Chain of Infection

The chain of infection is comprised of six units; the infectious agent or the germ; the reservoir or where the pathogen lives; portal of exit, why and how the infectious agent exits it reservoir; mode of transmission, how it is passed on; portal of entry, how the infectious agent enters its new host; and the susceptible host which can be any person or animal.

How the Community Health Nurse Can Break the Chain of Infection

Community nurses and education are at the center of breaking communicable disease processes from spreading, surveillance of and prevention.  In order to stop the infectious agent from spreading it is imperative to break the link of transmission.  Hand hygiene, vaccination, prevention of spreading an organism could include education on the importance of covering your cough or sneeze, isolate the person or persons infected, use of personal protective equipment when indicated, especially in healthcare settings, utilizing antibiotics wisely.  At home and beyond, maintain and clean your home especially the high use areas such as countertops, faucets, light switches, bathroom surfaces, keyboards or cell phones, doorknobs or the steering wheel of your car.  In grocery stores, utilize the antiseptic wipes to wipe down cart handles, etc.  If you find yourself or a loved one as a patient in a hospital or clinic setting, speak up, call out anyone who enters your room to utilize hand sanitizers prior to engaging in your care.  All are ways to break the link and to prevent spread of infectious agents.

Improve community knowledge and information of possible outbreaks and the steps needed to contain the infectious agent.  Through collaboration with local healthcare professionals, social media or television, provide hyperlinks to public health forums or available telephone numbers for social support services.  Community health nurses need to be well informed and educated in surveillance statistics of their local area in order to break the chain of infection.

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