Home Care Basics (Tip Sheet)

Document created by ssnider Employee on Jan 7, 2017Last modified by alawson on Mar 27, 2017
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Standard Precautions

Standard precautions are simple hygiene practices that help prevent contact with blood and other body fluids.  Many diseases can be spread through body fluids.  It is not always possible to know who is infected.  These measures are the best precautions against the unknown.  Standard Precautions protect both the patient and the caregiver. 


Body fluids include:

  • Blood
  • Stool/urine
  • Drainage from wounds
  • Used tissues
  • Semen/Vaginal fluids


Simple protective steps:

  • Good hand-washing
  • Use gloves
  • Keep wounds covered
  • Use condoms
  • Do not recap or bend needles
  • Properly dispose of needles and other sharp or broken objects


Using Standard precautions whenever there is any chance of being in contact with blood or other body fluids is good common sense.  Any Bluegrass Care Navigator can provide you with additional information. 


Infection Control in the Home

  • Keep the home clean and well ventilated.
  • Stay away from people with colds, flu, cold sores, etc.
  • Clean all patient care items after use.
  • Don't clean bedpans or urinals in the sink.
  • Flush all body waste and fluids down the toilet.
  • Wear gloves when cleaning up after animals, birdcages, litter boxes, fish bowls, and aquariums.
  • Masks may be needed for patients or caregivers if the patient or caregiver has an infectious cough. 


Personal Habits

  • Wash hands with soap and water using friction for at least 15 second.  Wash after going to the bathroom, before preparing food and before eating.  Hand-washing
  • Take a bath, as needed.  Wash areas soiled with urine, stool, or drainage right away. 
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when sneezing or coughing.
  • Keep clothes and bedding clean.
  • Don't share toothbrushes, towels, washcloths, or underwear.
  • Keep fingernails clean.
  • Wash your hands after blowing your nose or coughing into your hands.



Steps to Proper Hand-washing

  • Wet your hands under plenty of warm running water.  This carries away germs and dirt.
  • Lather your hands and wrists with soap for 10-15 seconds.  Although soap and water do not actually kill germs, they loosen the skin oils and deposits that harbor germs.  Remember to wash around and under your fingernails.
  • Thoroughly rinse your hands in running water.  Make sure your fingers point downward.
  • Dry your hands with a clean cloth or paper towel.  Do not dry off with a used towel.  This may put germs right back on your hands.
  • If possible, keep liquid soap for use by the sinks.  Bar soaps may hold germs which can be spread from one person to another.
  • Soapless hand sanitizer gels may also be sued when  soap and water are not available.


Food handling/preparation

  • Keep all meat and milk products in the refrigerator when not in use.
  • Prepare food on clean surfaces and keep kitchen utensils clean.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables carefully before using.
  • Cook meat well.
  • Wash hands before preparing foods.
  • Refrigerate perishable foods.
  • Do not use out of date food.
  • Don't taste food with cooking spoon.
  • Make sure cutting boards are cleaned thoroughly after using for raw meats.
  • Do not share utensils or eat from common dishes.


Protection of the Caregiver

  • Wear gloves when coming into contact with patient's body fluids.
  • Wash hands with soap and water before eating and before and after contact with patient-soiled body or linens.
  • Put dressings and disposable materials in a plastic bag, seal it, place it in another plastic bag, and dispose of it with other household trash.
  • Keep surfaces clean.  Rinse away all soap with clean water. 
  • Designate a separate area for supplies.  Keep all supplies out of reach of children and off the floor.
  • Identify a work area that can be cleaned before and after use.
  • Clean up blood or fluids with one part chlorine bleach and 100 parts water; wear gloves for this procedure and wash hands afterwards.  
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