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Collaboration key in fight against healthcare associated infections

Interclean’s Future Disinfection Now 2017 conference took place on Tuesday 28 February at Rydges, Melbourne and Thursday 2 March at Waterview Bicentennial Park, Sydney. INCLEAN assistant editor Lizzie Hunter joined other healthcare and infection control professionals at the conference to find out more about the current and future challenges of environmental disinfection in hospital and aged care facilities, and what cleaning supervisors, managers and contractors can do to address these issues.

Learn from the past to prepare for the future”

Global chief clinical officer at Pentax Medical, Dr Hudson Garrett Jr was the first speaker to be welcomed to the stage to discuss the role of the clinical environment in the transmission of healthcare associated infections (HAI).

“I don’t know about you, but I don’t go to the hospital and say, ‘I’d like to sign the forms to be admitted, and oh, by the way, I would like a complimentary staph infection’ – no-one says that,” he exclaimed. “But in reality, that’s what happens every single day across the world.”

According to Garrett, many HAIs are preventable with current recommendations, yet only 30 to 38 per cent of hospitals are fully compliant, with only 40 per cent of healthcare personnel adhering to proper hand hygiene.

He demonstrated how easily transmission of HAIs can occur through a simple handshaking exercise, explaining that healthcare workers need to “learn from the past to prepare for the future”.

“What we do in healthcare must always derive value for the patient. If it doesn’t, we need to get rid of it. If there is a way to reproduce best practice – we need to follow it. We need to make better educated decisions and spend our resources appropriately.”

Hudson also posed the question, “Why can’t the healthcare industry be more like the airline industry?” after recounting what happened when a flight he was on from Dallas to Texas had to make an emergency landing.

“Airline industry employees are so well trained to be a cross functional team; after the pilot announced we were to prepare for an emergency landing, everyone worked in coordination; the flight attendants knew what to do, the pilot knew what to do, and the air traffic control knew what to do. Why can’t we take that same approach – where everyone works together – and apply it to environmental services to provide safe care for patients?”

This article first appeared in the May/June issue of INCLEAN magazine. Click here to continue reading…

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