COVID-19 Infection Control and Clean Bag Technique
Home health clinicians know infection control is always important. But with COVID-19 in our communities, infection control is more crucial than ever.
Making sure clinicians are using proper bag technique while caring for their patient's has never been more important. As a reminder, we are sending out the standard "bag technique" steps for your staff to review below.
However, if your HHA is caring for a patient with a known or suspected case of COVID-19 or any other infectious disease, skip the bag and use the following precautions:
Provide equipment to the patient for their exclusive use, or,
1. Take in only what is needed for the patient encounter
2. Place equipment and supplies in a double disposable bag
3. Leave the outer disposable bag in the patient area
4. Carry the equipment out after being cleaned in the inner disposable bag
Clean Bag Technique Procedure
- Select a healthcare bag that has at least three separate compartments, at least one of which should be lockable to secure patient records.
- Designate two “clean” compartments, one for clean disposables and the other for patient records.
- Pack the bag with necessary supplies before leaving for visits. Pack hand washing supplies near the top or in a side pocket where they are easily accessible.
- Store the healthcare bag in a clean storage container or other separate compartment in your car. Plastic tote in trunk
- Do not take the healthcare bag into infested homes or homes of patients with antibiotic resistant infections such as MRSA or VRE. Known or suspected COVID-19
- In the home, identify a clean and safe area for the healthcare bag. Never set the healthcare bag on the floor. Always choose a place to set the bag that gives you enough work space, is close to the patient, has a source of water, and is away from children and pets.
- Plan where you will discard disposable items and sharps ahead of time.
- Spread an impervious barrier on the surface before setting the bag down.
- Remove hand washing supplies first. Wash and dry hands thoroughly, following proper hand washing technique.
- Remove any items needed for patient care, including any necessary personal protective equipment.
- Close the bag before performing patient care.
- Wash your hands again if you need to re-enter the bag for additional supplies during patient care.
- Only dispose of sharps in an approved sharps disposal container. The sharps container must be kept in a separate “dirty” compartment or a designated sharps container pouch. Never put used sharps directly in the bag.
- Discard disposables in a sealed trash bag or bio-hazard bag. Follow local and state regulations for infectious waste disposal.
- Bag soiled reusable items that cannot be cleaned in the patient’s home and transport them according to agency policy. Do not put these soiled items back into the healthcare bag.
- Wash your hands, then repack and close the healthcare bag.
- Clean and disinfect the healthcare bag weekly by hand washing in mild soap and warm water and air drying. Then spray both inside and outside with a germicidal solution, and air dry again.