Infection control: News round-up

Infection control ‘sat nav’ launched

SPECIALISTS at Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust have developed a new smartphone application likened to a ‘sat nav for medicine’ to help clinicians treat patients with infections. The MicroGuide App, developed by critical care expert, Dr Sanjay Gupta; pharmacist, Dr Kieran Hand; and microbiologist, Dr Adriana Basarab at Southampton General Hospital, provides concise information on common infections and which antibiotics are needed to tackle them. It is the first medical app in the UK to offer personalised decision-making support at the bedside – something not possible through paper documents currently available on hospital wards.

"This app is designed to provide practical decision support for medical staff at the point of care when treating patients with infection in situations not in their immediate area of expertise,” said Dr Hand, who specialises in anti-infectives. The App can be used to guide treatment of in-hospital infections including meningitis, pneumonia and urinary tract infection. It also incorporates dosing calculators and advice on handling and resolving cases of MRSA, risk factors associated with C.difficile and guidance on penicillin allergy. Dr Gupta said: “In contrast to other healthcare Apps currently available, this is not only an educational learning tool, but also an interactive aid to decisions being made by doctors and pharmacists on the wards that directly affect the treatment pathway of their patients.” The App is currently available for download on the iPhone, iPad and Android.

Kids help to beat the bugs

CHILDREN on the wards of Sandwell General Hospital have joined in the fight against bugs. An event was held recently to teach children and their parents about key infection prevention messages. Glitter in flour and water, jelly, paint and bubbles were all used, not only to catch the attention of young visitors to the inpatient day assessment ward, but also to teach them to wash their hands properly with the help of hospital staff. Organiser and infection control champion, Jo Maher, said: “We wanted something that was more interactive for children to take part in. Often the messages are there for adults and colleagues and children are left out. Once we had shown the children how to wash their hands properly, we used UV light boxes to demonstrate where germs can still be found lurking.” The event was sponsored by B Braun, which supplies hand gels and other equipment to the trust, and it also featured games, goody bags, party food and a visit from the Pod children's entertainment charity.

Door handles help reduce infection threat

NEW infection-busting door handles have been installed at Scarborough and Bridlington hospitals as part of a pilot project. The hygienic fixtures have been installed in toilets in public areas of the hospitals as well as being trialed on Oak and Maple wards. The state-of-the-art handles come with an automatic sleeve dispenser, which covers the devices with a clean film of protective plastic every time it’s used. Donna Winter, clinical nurse specialist for infection prevention and control, said: “One of the things patients say to us is that they feel uncomfortable touching a toilet door handle that’s been used by someone who hasn’t washed their hands. With this system they can feel reassured that the door handles are clean. Any technology which may help us in our fight against hospital acquired infections is always welcomed.” The project has already proved popular at other NHS buildings including Epsom and St Helier hospitals. Andrew Bennett, head of estates and capital services at Scarborough and Bridlington, said: “This is another initiative which demonstrates that the trust is serious about infection control. Simple actions can have an impact on infection control, but also on how our patients and visitors feel about the trust and the hospital. If the pilot proves popular we will look at rolling the scheme out across the whole trust.” The organisation is also looking into trialing infection-busting toilet seats.

Conference explores role of research

THE role of research in helping to fight healthcare associated infections (HCAIs) came under the microscope at a top-level seminar held in London recently. The meeting was attended by cardiothoracic surgeons, microbiologists, infectious diseases and respiratory physicians, cardiologists, infection control and intensive care nurses, pharmacists and research fellows from University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and University College London. Entitled A Bug's Life at the Heart, the day was organised by cardiothoracic surgeons, Shyam Kolvekar and John Yap, and clinical microbiologists, Professor Ali Zumla and Dr Bruce Macrae. It looked at interventions rolled out at The Heart Hospital in London and how research can impact on the prevalence of infections such as MRSA and C.difficile.

Bug-busting patient chair unveiled

A NEW bug-busting patient chair has been launched by Teal Furniture. Designed by Tim Wallace, the Salus Patient Chair has an antibacterial surface and comprises only five parts, with no stitching or fabric joins. In addition the frame is encased in Medipur, which helps to eliminate surfaces around the side and under the chair that normally trap dust. Already ordered by Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust for installation later this year, the chair is designed for general wards and specialist areas.

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