SAFETY TIPS FOR THE DCW
THE SPREAD OF DISEASES AND PREVENTION
Preventing the spread of disease depends on how the disease is transmitted and the source of the infection. Germs, also called microorganisms, are tiny living particles. They can be found anywhere: in the air, on the ground, in our bodies.
Pathogens—the germs that cause diseases—often live in a specific environment. Some diseases are spread by touching objects that an infected person has touched. Other diseases are spread when you come into contact with the body fluids of an infected person, for example blood or saliva.
Sources of infection
Healthy individuals with healthy immune systems will stay healthy because their immune system will fight the germs. To help the body fight off diseases, there are simple things you can do every day. You can reduce the spread of infectious microorganisms by:
People are at greater risk for getting infections if they:
Procedure: Hand Washing
Foodborne illness is transmitted to people by food or beverages, sometimes called food poisoning. The very young and the very old are at increased risk for foodborne illnesses for different reasons:
To reduce the risk of illness from bacteria in food, individuals who are at greatest risk are advised not to eat:
Recognizing foodborne illness
The bacteria in unsafe food are hard to detect. Often the individual cannot see, smell or taste the bacteria.
Foodborne bacteria may take 20 minutes to six weeks to make you ill depending on the type of bacteria.
Symptoms of foodborne illness may be confused with other types of illness, but are usually nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or a fever, headache and body aches.
Wash your hands
Following correct procedures before preparing food is very important.
A DCW may see several clients and/or do different tasks such as cleaning, bathing and food preparation.
When preparing food for a client, you need to make sure fingernails are clean and contain your hair (pull back or wear a hairnet).
Wear disposable gloves to reduce contamination and cover broken skin areas with a bandage.
Remember to wash your hands BEFORE applying and AFTER removing gloves.
Washing and preparing food
There are three safe methods to thaw frozen meat (the Thaw Law):
It is NOT safe to thaw meat, poultry or fish on the kitchen counter.
Bacteria can multiply rapidly at room temperature.
Did You Know?
Do not rely on reheating to make leftovers safe. Staph bacteria produce a toxin that is not destroyed by heating.
Refrigerator and freezer temperatures
Keep food clean
Keep hot food hot
Keep cold food cold
When in doubt, throw it out!
Good safety precautions can help prevent falls, fires, and other emergencies. Keep appliances in good repair, practice personal safety, and prepare a plan for emergencies. Direct care workers (DCWs) need to know how to respond to emergencies and how to help prevent them. For several reasons, elderly persons and people with disabilities are more at risk for injuries at home:
What to do in an Emergency -
If the individual is not responding and not breathing normally:
If the individual is not responding but is breathing:
Cell phone use
Call your supervisor after the paramedics have been called and the consumer (and yourself) are no longer in danger.
Every individual especially if living alone should have an Emergency Plan posted in an obvious place such as the refrigerator. The plan should be kept up to date with current medications (recommend attaching it to the back of the plan) in case the individual is unable to give the paramedics the information in an emergency. Below is an example of an Emergency Plan.
Responsible Party/Emergency Contact(s)
Physician:______________________________________ Phone: _______________
Living Will: Yes No . ..
CPR: Yes No (If No, my orange form is located (where):__________________
My Current Medication List Is Located (where): ________________________________
How serious is the problem?
What to Do if an Individual Falls:
If the individual has already fallen when you find him/her or is complaining of pain after falling:
If the individual is not responsive, call 911 immediately
Who is at risk?
All men and women are at risk for falling. White men have the highest death rates related to falls. Women are more at risk for hip fractures. For both men and women, age is a risk factor for hip fractures: People age 85 and older are 10 times more likely to break a hip than people at age 60 to 65.
Through careful scientific studies, researchers have identified a number of modifiable risk factors:
Seniors can modify these risk factors by:
What other things may help reduce fall risk?
Because seniors spend most of their time at home, one-
Researchers have found that simply modifying the home does not reduce falls. However, environmental risk factors may contribute to about half of all home falls.
Common environmental fall hazards include tripping hazards, lack of stair railings or grab bars, slippery surfaces, unstable furniture, and poor lighting.
To make living areas safer, seniors and people with disabilities should:
The Three Key Elements of a Fire
A fire needs all three elements to continue to burn. To extinguish a fire you need to take at least one of the elements away. You can put out a very small flame with a heavy blanket. If there is a fire in a cooking pot or a garbage can, put a lid on it. Use a fire extinguisher. Without fresh oxygen, the fire will go out.
If you are in immediate danger from flames or smoke, Get out and stay out. -
How to Use a Fire Extinguisher
Fire extinguishers are categorized by the type of fire they put out (Class A, B, or C fires). If only one extinguisher is available, make sure that it is an ABC fire extinguisher type so that it will put out all three classes of fires.
IF YOU FIGHT A FIRE, REMEMBER THE WORD PASS
WHEN NOT TO FIGHT A FIRE
IF ANY OF THE ABOVE CONDITIONS EXIST, LEAVE IMMEDIATELY!
Preventing a fire is better than fighting fires. Fire alarms and safe handling of fire and other heat sources are important The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has targeted these principal consumer products associated with fires:
The most important fire safety measure is to make sure the consumer has at least one working fire alarm on every floor preferably near the bedrooms and/or kitchen. Test the battery monthly.
How to be prepared for a Fire
PRINCIPLES OF BODY MECHANICS
Some of the most common injuries sustained by healthcare workers are severe muscle strains. Many injuries can be avoided by the conscious use of proper body mechanics when performing physical labor. Body mechanics is the utilization of correct muscles to complete a task safely and efficiently, without undue strain on any muscle or joint.
Using correct body mechanics is an important part of a DCW’s job because:
Just as lifting, pushing, and pulling loads can damage your back, so can bending or reaching. As a DCW, you may have witnessed firsthand the pain and misery a back injury can cause. The good news is that you can learn some simple ways to reduce the risk of injury.
Body mechanics principles that play an integral part of this section are:
Procedure: Lifting Objects with Good Body Mechanics
I Just Didn’t Listen
I am a caregiver and I thought I knew all about body mechanics. I took a four-
When holding, lifting or carrying items
Through training, proficient matching of caregivers to clients, periodic review of clients needs, and so forth, Helping Hands makes every effort to minimize the risk of injury to our caregiving staff. However, even under the best of circumstances, on-
To accomplish this Helping Hands has contracted with an independent consulting firm to manage our employees’ workmen’s compensation injuries and claims. That firm is Workers’ Compensation Company of America (WCCA). As a part of their services for us and our staff, they provide an injury management and claims reporting service (known as Medcor) that looks out for everyone’s best interests when on-
PROCEDURES TO FOLLOW WHEN AN INJURY OCCURS
As soon as possible after an on-
FIRST CALL -
You will be connected with an Registered Nurse at Medcor, who will take down all the information on the injury and offer a recommendation on the next step(s) you should take.
SECOND CALL -
If the injury is not during normal office hours, just let the person on call know that you are reporting a work injury, and they will get the message to the appropriate administrative staff. If it is during normal office hours, again just let whoever answers the phone know that you need to report a work injury, and your call will be directed to the correct administrative staff person.
information on the injury and offer a recommendation on the next step(s) you should take.
NOTE: If the injury results in a need to leave the job, or will prevent you from filling you next scheduled shift, it is extremely important that you let the office know just as soon as possible so we can find a replacement caregiver to fill in while you are off work
After the paramedics leave
As soon as you and the client are safe.