Universal Precautions - Two Words That You Should Know!
Universal Precautions is a common phrase to anyone in the healthcare field, but if that’s not
you, you may have never heard these words before. Everyone should familiarize themselves
with the concept of Universal Precautions to protect your health in a variety of settings.
In order to understand, we’ll go back to the beginning. In the 1980’s the HIV/AIDS virus was
newly discovered and widely publicized. At that time, the CDC penned the “Guideline for
Isolation Precautions in Hospitals”, which was a document that gave some guidance to
professionals in the healthcare field about dealing with potentially infectious blood and bodily
fluids. Five years later they also published the “Recommendations for Prevention of HIV
Transmission in Health Care settings”. This new set of recommendations urged practitioners to treat ALL bodily fluids, known to be infected or not, as potentially hazardous.
Why is this information important for you?
This approach to infection control helps reduce the risk of unprotected exposure to potentially
infectious bodily fluids. Treating all human blood and some body fluids as if they were infected leaves out the guess work of how to treat such situations. This not only keeps us safe when working with placentas, but it also keeps our clients safe from possible cross contamination. The regulation of the placenta encapsulation industry is currently not standardized, and there are no set guidelines from a governing body. So, as encapsulators, we are responsible for implementing our own systems and controls to keep our clients safe. At Lancaster Placenta Co., we’ve developed a standard for sanitation modeled after the sanitizing procedures required for use in healthcare settings.
OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 ensures safe working conditions by setting standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance. These guidelines prevent the transmission of blood borne pathogens to the provider and the consumer. As part of Universal Precautions, the CDC recommends the use of gloves, masks, eyewear, face-shields, barrier gowns and PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) to reduce exposure along with strict work practice controls and systems.
At Lancaster Placenta Co., we follow all OSHA recommendations and Universal Precautions for every client, every time. We aim to go above and beyond the recommendations and set a standard of our own that we believe all encapsulation providers should aim to follow. These strict controls that we’ve implemented ensure the safety of every one of our clients as well as our team. In this way, we can provide the highest quality, safest, and most consistent product to you.
So, how do we do it?
We start with the basics, and then some.
Protecting our team members from coming in contact with the blood and bodily fluids present
during the encapsulation process keeps them safe and keeps cross contamination from
occurring via our hands, hair, or clothing. Before we even open the cooler to retrieve the
placenta for processing we begin by putting on our scrubs, gloves, isolation gowns, N95
respirators, hair nets, and safety glasses. Each of these methods of protection keep a barrier
between us and the placenta we’re working on. No part of the placenta comes into contact
with our hands, hair, clothing, or expelled oxygen, keeping the likelihood of transmission of any bacterial or viral loads to or from our team to a minimum. In this way, we go above and beyond the standard currently being practiced by most encapsulators because we have the training and knowledge to keep you safe.
All of our equipment is sanitized and sterilized using hospital grade procedures. All items that
come into direct contact with bodily fluids or blood and are not one-time use products are
autoclaved or sanitized using an OSHA approved disinfectant for health care equipment and
facilities. Our equipment and prep stations are made of high quality stainless steel certified by the National Safety Foundation (NSF Certified) that can be easily and thoroughly sanitized after each and every use. These procedures ensure that all pathogens that may be present on our reusable equipment are completely eliminated before that equipment is used to process another placenta. We are also big fans of disposable, one-time use products and use them whenever and wherever possible during processing to eliminate the possibility of cross contamination.