A nurse putting on protective gear to minimize COVID-19 spread.

How Nurses Can Minimize Risks of COVID-19 in Dialysis Facilities

Patients who receive dialysis treatment are at a higher risk of COVID-19. Nurses that work in dialysis facilities need to take preventative measures to minimize the risk of transmitting the disease between patients and themselves. Some of the preventative measures include educating themselves, staff members, and patients about the virus and screening patients and staff for the virus. Another important aspect is to separate the infected patients. 

What Dialysis Nurses Need to Know 

The WHO (World Health Organization) acknowledged the novel coronavirus disease as a global pandemic on March 11, 2020. Patients who are on routine dialysis are likely to be at a higher risk of COVID-19 and its complications. That’s because these people are usually older. In addition, they may have multiple conditions that suppress their immune systems like hypertension or diabetes. 

If you have several patients in the same small enclosed area, it increases the risk of catching the virus. Therefore, the appropriate strategies need to be put into place to ensure the facility and staff are preventing the spread of the virus. 

Here is some more information on what all dialysis nurses should know when caring for patients at the facility. 

Education 

Health care workers and patients should be educated on preventative measures while giving and receiving care during the pandemic. Hand and respiratory hygiene are at the top of the list of most important things, as well as coughing etiquette. When it is time to educate patients, caregivers should use terminology easy to understand and no medical jargon. All healthcare workers need to be educated on the use of PPE and should practice how to use it correctly. Ongoing education efforts are the key to helping prevent health care worker transmission of COVID-19. 

Patient Screening 

One of the best things that dialysis nurses can help with the screening process is calling the patients before they come. During the call, they can ask if the patient has any of the common COVID-19 symptoms. This approach is reliant on staff availability and therefore the screening process will be different for every dialysis facility. Face masks and hand sanitizers should be provided for all patients. Each patient needs to be at least six feet away from one another. And every facility needs to put together a triage plan to transfer patients for appropriate testing that is site-specific.

How to Manage Infected Patients 

Patients who show symptoms or are positive for COVID-19 should wear face masks to prevent the spread to others. And all symptomatic patients need to be at least six feet from everyone else. Some dialysis centers mandate the use of a face mask for every patient. All patients who are on home dialysis should be treated with the same protocols as those who are on-site when they attend the outpatient clinics. 

Become a Travel Nurse and Help in Dialysis Facilities 

Right now throughout the country, medical facilities like dialysis centers are needing additional help from nurses than ever before. If you have experience as a dialysis nurse and would like to give travel nursing a try, visit New Directions Staffing today to check out the current job listings.