Nurses carry an abundance of medical equipment and supplies to patient homes where they provide care. As the nurse travels from home to home, so does the bag. This makes it imperative for nurses to treat their bags with great care as they can pick up and potentially spread microorganisms. Mary McGoldrick has put together a comprehensive guideline for proper bag technique to prevent and control infections in home care and hospice.
1. Decontaminate and clean the surface of the nursing bag – The nursing bag should be cleaned at minimum on a weekly basis prevent contamination. According to a study referenced in the guideline, “It was found that approximately 84% of the outside of the bags cultured positive for human pathogens (15.9% MDROs) and 48.4% of the inside of the bags had positive cultures (6.3% MDROs).”
2. Select the proper type of nursing bag material – Companies and nurses should select a bag that has a nonporous, noncloth/canvas/fabric material. A vinyl or leather material is easier to clean and disinfect.
3. Prevent transmission – “Bag technique” is performed by some home care and hospice staff to help prevent bringing microorganisms into a patient’s home.
4. Choose the best bag placement in the home and vehicle – The nursing bag should be placed on a clean, dry surface in the home. If it’s a rolling bag it should remain on the floor. In a vehicle, the bag should be placed in a plastic container with high sides. This can help prevent bed bugs from latching to surfaces of the vehicle.
Above are just a few ways in which nurses can employ proper bag technique to prevent the spread of microorganisms. Learn more about proper bag technique here.