When myself or a colleague enters a home, we bring with us our medical bags that carry items we need to do our job. These include PPE (personal protective equipment) like gloves, masks, BP cuffs, pulse oximeter, thermometer, Therabands, etc.
There are protocols we must follow regarding the handling of the bag.
The purpose is to reduce transmission of germs from one person to another, one home to another.
For example, we place our medical bags on a tarp-like barrier before placing them on a surface. We perform hand hygiene before entering or reentering our bag and before/after the visit. We sanitize each piece of equipment before it goes back into the bag. My patients and their caregivers keep a keen eye when I perform these tasks.
“So, you think I’m dirty?” asked one patient, halfway joking, the other day while I was sanitizing each piece of my equipment following the home health visit.
“Not at all,” I said.
The simple answer, I explained to her. We want to avoid spreading germs from one patient to the next. Sanitizing with germicidal disposable wipes is a fast, efficient way to avoid the spreading of disease, much like hand washing.
Many of my patients assumed the COVID-10 pandemic ushered in our cleanliness protocol with our bag. no, we have performed bag technique well before COVID-19, but the pandemic has highlighted and emphasized the importance of cleanliness and disinfection.