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MRSA infections cut15th of September 2010
A Glasgow hospital managed to reduce the number of new MRSA infections on its wards by 27 per cent - simply by recruiting an extra cleaner. The move also saved the hospital over €60,000, it was revealed at the recent national conference of the Association of Healthcare Cleaning Professionals in the UK.
Guest speaker Dr Stephanie Dancer, consultant microbiologist at NHS Lanarkshire, spoke about the need for cleaning hand touch sites around patients’ beds.
“Our studies show that 40 per cent of healthcare sites are cleaned properly - but these tend to be the traditional areas such as toilets and sinks,” she said. “Sites such as telephones and doorknobs are not always properly cleaned.”
In the Glasgow study, an extra cleaner was brought in to clean hand touch sites such as bed rails, tray tables, call buttons and light switches. “One cleaner using a detergent-based cleaning agent was responsible for a 33 per cent reduction in aerobic colony counts,” said Dancer. “Also reported was a 27 per cent reduction in new MRSA infections, saving the hospital over €60,000 in a year.”
Also speaking at the conference was Paul Cryer, a former programme manager for the UK Department of Health’s HCAI Technology Innovation Programme. New technologies being piloted under the programme include a hand hygiene system featuring a chip in a camera that ‘knows’ how medical operatives are washing their hands. “It registers the various stages of hand washing and once the member of staff has completed all the stages, a green light appears,” said Cryer.
Another system being trialled involves the acoustic tracking of patients. “This allows us to know where every patient has been and every interaction they make,” said Cryer. “Which is important for monitoring the spread of infections and ensures that a patient is not admitted to a bed unless it has been signed off as being clean.”