Lack of single rooms and poor hand hygiene threatening infection control in hospitals

Survey reveals top concerns of infection control professionals

The ICE-pod from Bioquell will enable hospitals to isolate patients in ward environments

A lack of single rooms, too few specialist nurses, poor hand hygiene compliance, and the need for better engagement among healthcare staff are putting infection control in hospitals under threat, according to a new survey.

Conducted by infection control solutions specialist, Bioquell, during the Infection Prevention 2013 conference and exhibition, the study reveals that C.difficile and norovirus are the main causes of concern for infection control professionals during the winter months.

As part of the survey, 170 infection control nurses and senior practitioners were asked to rank various pathogens in order of priority and also indicate any others they were concerned about. The findings revealed that 48% of respondents highlighted C.difficile as the primary cause of concern and 36% highlighted norovirus. Carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) was also becoming a major concern (19%) as well as Acinetobacter (2%), MRSA (4%) and VRE (4%).

The survey highlighted the chronic shortage of single rooms in UK hospitals for dealing with pathogen outbreaks. Hand hygiene compliance and staff engagement were also identified as core areas of concern

Looking at what would make the biggest impact to infection control and management at each hospital, more single rooms (44% of respondents) was the clear primary choice. This was followed by a need for more infection control nurses (26%). The survey also highlighted that many infection control professionals would like to have more engagement from their hospital. 16% stated this as a primary requirement, with 46% placing it in their top three requirements. This was also supplemented by further comments where the need for better hand hygiene compliance, better training and more staff engagement were all raised as key concerns.

Commenting on this survey, Martin Whiting, director of marketing at Bioquell, said: "We have already started to see outbreaks of norovirus in some parts of the UK and we are all highly aware of the government targets for C.difficile cases that are leading to large fines at various NHS trusts. So, not surprisingly, both of these were some of the key concerns raised by our customers at this year's IPS event.

“Interestingly, the survey highlighted the chronic shortage of single rooms in UK hospitals for dealing with pathogen outbreaks. Hand hygiene compliance and staff engagement were also identified as core areas of concern.”

To address this Bioquell launched ICE-pod, a semi-permanent installation that can be erected around a bed space to provide many of the benefits of a single room, for example a sense of patient privacy and a barrier to infection transmission while continuing to provide ward staff with visibility and access to the patient.

Having to enter each ICE-pod through a doorway with alcohol dispensers and gloves readily available, hand hygiene compliance has also been observed to increase at many of the NHS hospitals where the pods have been installed.

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