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Infection Prevention Society event celebrates infection prevention excellence28th of October 2014 Article by Mike Sullivan
Mike Sullivan, managing director of hand hygiene products supplier GOJO Industries - Europe writes his latest hand hygiene blog for the ECJ website.
Every part of our lives - whether personal or private - seems to be subject to rapid and regular change; and infection prevention is by no means immune to this. The healthcare sector, in general, seems to be in a permanent state of transformation - affected by areas such as developments in technology, shifts in government policy, and population changes.
Operating on these shifting sands makes any reliable and unchanging factors all the more welcome and reassuring. The never-ending enthusiasm, commitment and dedication of our global infection prevention community are perfect examples of this - and the annual Infection Prevention Society (IPS 2014) conference is another, providing an exceptional education programme and opportunity for networking and knowledge-sharing.
This year's event took place in Glasgow recently and the programme was full of highly stimulating and thought-provoking content. Highlights included a keynote address from Professor Didier Pittet, IPS patron and one of the most well-known and respected names in the sector. His presentation was entitled: ‘Generation We - inspiring the future of infection prevention', and it examined, among other things, ‘how we need to influence the leaders of the future to save millions of their lives through their actions in healthcare'.
Dr Michael Borg, infection control consultant, Mater Dei Hospital, Malta spoke on the current threat of anti-microbial resistance, and posed the question, ‘has the post-antibiotic era arrived?'; while Dr Evonne Curran, nurse consultant infection control, Health Protection Scotland, delivered the EM Cottrell Lecture on how the infection prevention community has contributed to patient safety over the last 25 years.
Delivering more healthcare services in the community is one idea that is gathering pace. Hailed as a way of improving efficiency, innovation, choice and control, it is also a way of freeing up vital bed space in hospitals. If we take a step back and look at the stage that comes before illness - preventing infections occurring - much more can be done in various community settings.
I was delighted that IPS 2014 featured a community care stream, which looked at infection prevention in some very different locations:
· Schools and nurseries
· Tattooing and body piercing studios
Each individual session examined the particular infection prevention challenges in each setting, the guidelines and advice available, and strategies for ensuring best practice is achieved and delivered.
It was interesting to hear how big a part education plays in reinforcing the message that clean hands can help prevent illness and the spread of infections; and how providing easy access to the right products and formulations is a key factor in encouraging compliance.