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Infection prevention and control

Increased number of community and hospital related cases of Clostridium difficile infection

An increased number of community and hospital related cases of Clostridium difficile infection have been diagnosed at Conquest Hospital so far this year. Therefore the risk of cross infection is potentially higher than usual.

Clostridium difficile is a bacteria that is present in approximately 3% of healthy adults. Clostridium difficile toxin associated diarrhoea is caused by antibiotics that disturb the natural balance of bacteria in the bowel. This results in the production of toxins in the gut which causes symptoms such as watery diarrhoea, abdominal pain and fever. In the majority of patients these symptoms resolve with treatment and full recovery is usual.

The Trust already has in place stringent measures to contain this type of infection from spreading to other patients within the hospital.

In addition to our standard infection control measures we will be:

  • Increasing housekeeping provision on the wards most affected
  • Using Chlorine releasing agents to clean all adult inpatient areas
  • Increasing spot checking and formal auditing of standards of cleanliness
  • Reminding staff and patients that cleaning their hands is essential
  • Auditing antibiotic prescribing to promote best practice

It is important that we restrict the spread of infection by following strict infection control procedures.

These include rigorous hand washing procedures, high standards of cleanliness on the wards and the use of side rooms when necessary. Visitors are asked to follow whatever measures ward staff have put in place.

To help us to prevent the spread of infection please feel free to remind staff to wash their hands.

We would also ask visitors not to come into the hospital if they are unwell themselves. If in doubt, please check with the ward staff in advance of their visit.

Visitors are requested to:

  • Inform staff of their arrival on the ward.
  • Wash their hands before and after their visit.
  • Not sit or lie on the patient's bed.
  • Keep babies and infants under control and not to allow them to crawl on the floor or beds.
  • Restrict visitors to two per patient.
  • Respect the privacy of other patients.

Further information

How we are preventing and controlling infection

We aim to minimise the risk of patients, visitors and staff being affected by all healthcare-associated infections - or by infections that are present in the communities we serve.

We have a dedicated and committed Infection Control Team working across the trust.

Measures we are taking

Training our staff
We have a programme of infection control training for our staff. Our infection control teams and senior nurses carry out regular audits to check staff are following proper hand hygiene procedures.

Raising awareness
Infection prevention and control has a very high profile in our hospitals and community services. We have designed our own publicity posters featuring our own staff to encourage colleagues, patients and visitors to follow infection control rules. We are also active members of the National Patient Safety Agency’s 'cleanyourhands' campaign.

Setting high cleaning standards
Some infections place particular burdens on our cleaning teams. That is why we have employed extra cleaners specifically to support our infection prevention and control programme.

Controlling antibiotics
Infections that are resistant to antibiotics may be caused by our use of these antibiotics to treat patients. This is because when antibiotics are used to prevent or treat infections related to a particular illness or surgical procedure, they can also reduce the body’s defences against other bacteria. This increases the opportunity for some drug-resistant bugs, that might otherwise do no harm, to grow and make patients ill.

That is why we have introduced tight controls on the use of these antibiotics to minimise the chance that they put patients at risk.

Being open and honest
We recognise that patients and visitors are anxious about infections. That is why we expect our staff to be happy to be challenged on infection control matters. For example, if you are not sure whether a member of staff has cleaned their hands, please ask them.

Working with others
We are working with the Health Protection Agency and the Department of Health MRSA performance taskforce to make sure we do everything we can to prevent and control infections.

We are also working in partnership with infection control colleagues in primary care and other community organisations to control infections that are brought into the hospital - and to stop them causing a risk when patients are discharged and go home or to other health or social accommodation in the community.

Prevention and control of infection
These are just some of the many measures we are taking to prevent and control infection.

Links

  • Health Protection Agency
    The Health Protection Agency (HPA) is an independent body that protects the health and well-being of the population.
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