Infection control precautions

Standard infection control precautions: national hand hygiene and personal protective equipment policy | NHS Improvement

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This national policy is a practice guide for NHS healthcare staff of all disciplines in all care settings. It covers responsibilities for organisations, staff and infection prevention and control teams. It also sets out how and when to decontaminate hands.

The national policy aims to:

  • support a common understanding (making the right thing easy to do for every patient, every time)
  • reduce variation in practice and standardise care processes
  • improve how knowledge and skills are applied in infection prevention and control
  • help reduce the risk of healthcare-associated infection
  • help to align practice, education, monitoring, quality improvement and scrutiny

Full document: Standard infection control precautions: national hand hygiene and personal protective equipment policy

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Reducing the Risk of Mouth to Mouth Transmission of Pathogens Via Parking Tickets

In the initial phase of our study 598 staff members were observed entering the carpark. 21.6% of them put their parking ticket in their mouth | Journal of Hospital Infection

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Using UV dye we successfully demonstrated card-to-card cross-contamination. Swabs of the ticket machine yielded commensal bacteria: coagulase negative staphylococci and a Bacillus species.

After placing a poster on the ticket-reading machine highlighting this potential infection risk, a further 1366 observations resulted in a statistically significant and persistent decline in the proportion of staff putting their carpark tickets in their mouths (p<0.001).

Full reference: Groves, J. et al. (2017) Reducing the Risk of Mouth to Mouth Transmission of Pathogens Via Reusable, Machine-read, Parking Tickets. An observational cohort study. Journal of Hospital Infection. Published online: June 08, 2017

Patients’ Hand Washing and Reducing Hospital-Acquired Infection

Stacy Haverstick et al. | Patients’ Hand Washing and Reducing Hospital-Acquired Infection
Critical Care Nurse | June 2017 | 37:e1-e8;

Background:  Hand hygiene is important to prevent hospital-acquired infections. Patients’ hand hygiene is just as important as hospital workers’ hand hygiene. Hospital-acquired infection rates remain a concern across health centers.

Objectives: To improve patients’ hand hygiene through the promotion and use of hand washing with soap and water, hand sanitizer, or both and improve patients’ education to reduce hospital-acquired infections.

Methods: In August 2013, patients in a cardiothoracic postsurgical step-down unit were provided with individual bottles of hand sanitizer. Nurses and nursing technicians provided hand hygiene education to each patient. Patients completed a 6-question survey before the intervention, at hospital discharge and 1, 2, and 3 months after the intervention. Hospital-acquired infection data were tracked monthly by infection prevention staff.

Results: Significant correlations were found between hand hygiene and rates of infection with vancomycin-resistant enterococci (P = .003) and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (P = .01) after the intervention. After the implementation of hand hygiene interventions, rates of both infections declined significantly and patients reported more staff offering opportunities for and encouraging hand hygiene.

Conclusion: This quality improvement project demonstrates that increased hand hygiene compliance by patients can influence infection rates in an adult cardiothoracic step-down unit. The decreased infection rates and increased compliance with hand hygiene among the patients may be attributed to the implementation of patient education and the increased accessibility and use of hand sanitizer.

Telephone calls for post-discharge surveillance of surgical site infection

Nguhuni, B. et al. Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control | Published online: 8 May 2017

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Background: Surgical site infection (SSI) is a common post-operative complication causing significant morbidity and mortality. Many SSI occur after discharge from hospital. Post-discharge SSI surveillance in low and middle income countries needs to be improved.

Conclusion: The use of telephone interview as a diagnostic tool for post-discharge surveillance of SSI had moderate sensitivity and high specificity in Tanzania. Telephone-based detection may be a useful method for SSI surveillance in low-income settings with high penetration of mobile telephones.

Read the full article here

Collaboration with an infection control team for patients with infection after spine surgery

Kobayashi, K. et al. American Journal of Infection Control. Published online: 22 February 2017

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Highlights: 

  • The risk of infection after spine surgery has increased due to aging of society.
  • An infection control team (ICT) manages infected cases at our hospital.
  • The ICT guided use of antibiotics in 30 cases and investigated infection in 10.
  • The bacteria detection rate was 88% (35/40 patients) in cases treated by the ICT.
  • Early assistance from the ICT is a key to preventing onset of MRSA infection.

Read the full abstract here

Eight Years of Decreased MRSA Infections Associated With Veterans Affairs Prevention Initiative

Evans, M.E. et al. American Journal of Infection Control. 45(1) pp. 13-16

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Background: Declines in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) health care associated infections (HAIs) were previously reported in Veterans Affairs acute care (2012), spinal cord injury (SCIU) (2011), and long-term-care facilities (LTCFs) (2012). Here we report continuing declines in infection rates in these settings through September 2015.

Conclusions: MRSA HAI rates declined significantly in acute care, SCIUs, and LTCFs over 8 years of the Veterans Affairs MRSA Prevention Initiative.

Read the full article here

Smartphone text message service to foster hand hygiene compliance in health care workers

Kerbaj, J. et al. American Journal of Infection Control. Published online 9 December 2016

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Background: Health care-associated infections are a major worldwide public health issue. Hand hygiene is a major component in the prevention of pathogen transmission in hospitals, and hand hygiene adherence by health care workers is low in many studies. We report an intervention using text messages as reminders and feedback to improve hand hygiene adherence.

Conclusions: Text message feedback should be incorporated into multimodal approaches for improving hand hygiene compliance.

Read the full abstract here