Wheelchair users are at increased risk of infections which have to be treated with antibiotics. Taking antibiotics frequently increases the risk of harbouring multi-resistant germs.
How can you avoid multi-resistant germs becoming a health issue for you?
Multi-resistant germs – what are they?
There are numerous bacteria on everyone’s skin and mucous membranes (mouth, nose, etc.). This is completely normal and even good for you since they protect you naturally from harmful germs. Certain types of bacteria, however, have become resistant to antibiotics over time. In the case of an infection, treatment with antibiotics may show no effect or, if so, only insufficiently. Patients who carry a resistant germ are informed and instructed about the necessary precautions during a stay at the clinic. All staff at the clinic will take additional precautions (barrier nursing) to prevent the transmission of these germs to other patients, visitors and staff.
Multi-resistant germs are not generally a problem if one is healthy. However, as soon as a person’s immune system is weakened in some form, e.g. due to a wound such as a pressure ulcer, respiratory disease or regular catheterisation, it is possible that the body does not have the germs under control and this may result in a permanent colonisation or infection.
Germs are mainly transmitted via the hands
Bacteria can also survive for a relatively long time on surfaces. Through touching surfaces, they can settle on the hands and thus enter our body through the nose or the mucous membranes or via a catheter into the bladder. They can also be transmitted to other people through coughing and sneezing.
Hand sanitising is the most important measure to prevent the spread and transfer of multi-resistant bacteria. Therefore, you should wash and sanitise your hands frequently. Also clean the grab points on your wheel-chair regularly.
What should I remember during a hospital stay?
The main risk is posed by clinic staff / visitors / relatives
Clinic staff have to follow strict guidelines on hand sanitising. Ensure that staff sanitise their hands before:
- They begin treatment on you or
- They touch any kind of material in your surroundings.
Help to make sure that these rules are followed by addressing staff members in the case of non-compliance.
Feel free to also encourage family members, acquaintances and friends to use hand sanitisers. It is to protect you!
The right behaviour towards persons carrying multi-resistant germs
Sometimes you may meet people in a clinic wearing respiratory protection. This protection mask must be used if in close contact with other persons. Especially when coughing or speaking, these germs can be transmitted through saliva specks. Keeping a minimum distance of 1.5 metres from the person you are talking to can help to protect you from germs.
If patients who are required to wear a mouth protection are moving outside of their patient room, they need to wear the nose and mouth protection permanently. The mask must cover the nose and mouth completely, otherwise protection cannot be guaranteed. They are only allowed to take off the protective mask if they are outside of the clinic and not in a group of people.
Stick to these rules and multi-resistant germs will not pose a risk to you.
Encourage other patients to behave correctly in order to protect everybody.