Ways to Prevent Infection During Chemotherapy Treatments

Chemotherapy can lower a patient’s white blood cell count. Cancers can also make existing white blood cells less effective at fighting bacteria and viruses.

This means that, for chemotherapy patients, even common infections can be much harder to treat, and a lot more dangerous – or even fatal.

In this post we’ll discuss some ways to prevent infection during chemotherapy treatments. To begin with, we’ll explore some of the precautions patients can take to prevent infection during their chemotherapy. We’ll then look at the measures hospitals and healthcare settings can take to prevent and control infection among their most vulnerable patients.

Ways to Prevent Infection During Chemotherapy – For Patients

First, let’s take a look at some of the precautions chemotherapy patients could take to reduce their infection risk.

These are all general ideas for how you can lower your risk of infection. Consult your oncologist for expert advice that’s tailored to you and your needs.

Avoid Crowds or Certain Locations

While undergoing chemotherapy, your oncologist may advise you to avoid crowds, particularly during peak flu seasons. Infections spread more easily in crowded enclosed spaces than they do in outdoor spaces.

Depending on your white blood cell count, your oncologist might advise you to avoid specific locations and situations, such as public transport, supermarkets, cinemas, and so on. They may also advise you on precautions you can take if you do need to go to a crowded place, such as wearing PPE.

Also, for the duration of your chemotherapy, you should avoid spending time with anyone who might carry an infection risk – even if they’re your closest relatives. Sick people could pass on an infection to you. But there’s also the risk that you’ll pass on an infection to them.

Dietary Risks

Food can be a major source of infection. Throughout your chemotherapy, you should take extra precautions around the food you eat:

  • Don’t share plates or cutlery with others.
  • Inspect all fruit and vegetables for signs of spoiling, and thoroughly wash all produce before you eat it.
  • Make sure that any meat, seafood, and eggs you eat are fully cooked.
  • Avoid eating out, especially at buffets where food is left out for hours.
  • Avoid eating some foods entirely, including honey, sushi, blue cheese, and brie.

Pets and Animals

Some infections can be transmitted from animals to people.

Toxoplasmosis is the major risk you’ll face during your chemotherapy.

If you have a cat, you should avoid changing their litter for the duration of your treatment. If you have to change their litter, wear gloves while you do so, and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.

And speaking of cats, it’s a good idea to keep them indoors during your treatment. They could pick up all sorts of pathogens while they’re out, particularly if they catch any birds or mice.

If you have a dog, ask someone else to walk them. Or at the very least, wear gloves when picking up their droppings, and use hand sanitiser immediately afterwards.

Finally, don’t get any new animals during your treatment, especially not young animals. Not only are they more likely to carry infections, they’re also a lot of work. And during your chemotherapy, you’ll want to take things as easy as possible.

Ways to Prevent Infection During Chemotherapy Treatment – For Hospitals

Chemotherapy patients can take precautions to lower their risk of infection during chemotherapy. But hospitals also have a responsibility to prevent and control infection among all of their patients, particularly the most vulnerable ones.

To achieve this, all healthcare staff must follow the 10 standard infection control precautions. These include:

  • Patient placement, and assessing a patient’s infection risk. There’s a reason why chemotherapy treatments take place in a dedicated oncology department. It ensures that chemotherapy patients are kept separate from patients who might carry an infection risk.
  • Hand hygiene – All staff should thoroughly wash their hands at certain key points, including both before and after interacting with a patient and their immediate surroundings. They should also follow a specific hand cleaning technique.
  • PPE – Staff should wear the appropriate PPE for each occasion. They should also follow certain procedures for storing, putting on, taking off, and disposing of PPE.

Other Measures to Prevent Infection During Chemotherapy

Comprehensive cleaning protocols and procedures can play a huge role in preventing and controlling infection in all healthcare settings. The protocols should target the areas where infections are most likely to take hold and thrive. They should also recommend the most effective cleaning products and the correct procedures for using them.

A hospital grade air purifier can help you quickly and thoroughly improve the air quality in your oncology department, which can prevent infection from airborne pathogens.

Our Blueair HealthProtectTM air purifiers are fitted with advanced HEPASilent technology. This is capable of catching 99.97% of particles down to 0.1 microns. This includes the viruses and bacteria which carry the greatest infection risks for chemotherapy patients.

Take a look at our specialist air purification systems for hospitals.

 

The Link Between Adult Social Care and Hospital Discharges

The NHS is currently facing a significant backlog that shows no sign of easing in the foreseeable future.

As a measure for easing the pressures, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has discussed greater investment in social care.

In this post, we’ll explore the link between adult social care and hospital discharges. We shall explain how investing in social care may help free up hospital beds for other critical care patients.

How Can Adult Social Care Investment Free Up Hospital Beds?

Not all patients necessarily need to be in hospital to receive the care they need. Some patients can instead receive care in the community. Essentially, this means that they’ll leave hospital and go to either their home, a family member’s home, or a dedicated residential setting.

A care worker or nurse will then visit them routinely to give them the care they need. This might involve administering medication, supervising physiotherapy exercises, or simply checking up on them to see how they’re progressing following hospital treatment.

If need be, the care worker may refer the patient back to hospital to receive more intensive care or supervision. But in most cases, the patient can make a full recovery from the comfort of their own home.

Why Are Adult Social Care Issues Causing Hospital Bed Shortages?

Every patient receiving care in the community is a patient who is not taking up a hospital bed. This frees up hospital beds for more critical cases. It also increases the overall capacity of the hospital and its staff. This can make a difference to many of the crises the NHS is currently facing, from the backlog of care to the long ambulance waiting times.

How is the Government Investing in Adult Social Care?

During the 2020 pandemic, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) was committed to freeing up as many hospital beds as possible. They aimed to reduce pressures on the NHS and to ensure that there would be capacity for any COVID patient who needed hospital care. And they did this via a fund that would allow patients to receive up to six weeks of free social care upon leaving hospital.

In September 2022, there were reportedly 13,000 people in hospital who could instead be receiving care in the community. So the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care unveiled a £500m grant for adult social care.

Will This Investment Make a Difference?

Unfortunately, the adult social care sector is itself going through some tough times.

Vacancies in adult social care rose by 52% in 2021-2022. So even if the government pledges to fund adult social care, there may not be the capacity to handle the increased caseload this would bring.

The DHSC has also discussed launching a domestic adult social care recruitment campaign. But given how long it takes to recruit and train specialist social workers to provide care in the community, it’s unlikely that this will make a difference in the short-term.

Investing in adult social care is a vital step to addressing the NHS’s backlog, and the numerous additional problems it brings. Though as is usually the case, things are far more complicated than they initially seem, and we’re unlikely to see any noticeable improvements in the near future.

How Can Hospitals Manage in the Short-Term?

While this issue continues to affect practice, hospitals and healthcare staff continue to work to the best of their ability to deliver efficient and high-quality care.

We have been working with healthcare professionals for over 20 years to find solutions and procedures to help improve efficiency through infection control and air quality monitoring as well as by providing products to help improve turn-around times and patient outcomes.

Get in touch to find out how we help hospitals and healthcare settings control and prevent infection while improving operational efficiency.

 

 

Operating Theatre Staff Roles and Responsibilities

It takes a lot of people to run a successful operating theatre. The most efficient operating theatre is one in which everyone knows their own role and responsibilities, as this means that everyone can depend on everything being done that needs to be done.

In this post we’ll explore the various operating theatre staff roles, and the key responsibilities for each member of the team.

Outline of Operating Theatre Staff Rolls

Please note that this is a general list of operating theatre staff roles. Specific theatres might have specific roles, and many members of the team will share responsibilities as the situation demands. So please don’t treat this list as a definite hierarchy so much as an example of the sort of roles that could exist in your average operating theatre.

Operating Theatre Manager

The operating theatre manager oversees the theatre’s day-to-day operational issues. They will often manage multiple sites. Their responsibilities involve managing budgets and resources, as well as implementing risk management and health and safety policies.

As well as providing professional leadership to all theatre staff, they might lead on research projects and assess, develop, and implement new evidence-based programmes of care.

You can read our full guide to an operating theatre manager’s roles and responsibilities.

Operating Theatre Team Leader

Supporting the theatre manager, the team leader will directly lead the multidisciplinary theatre team, both professionally and clinically.

Their responsibilities will involve planning and organising workload and supervising the nursing staff. They may also provide clinical advice, and ongoing training and development in the use of specialist instruments and equipment.

The team leader will also oversee the maintenance of operating theatre equipment, which will include keeping on top of stock levels.

Theatre Practitioners

Nurses, surgeons, anaesthetists and other specialists. Responsible for undertaking or assisting in the highly skilled invasive medical procedures that take place in the controlled theatre environment.

As they carry out such delicate, high-pressure procedures, many would argue that the theatre practitioners are the most important of all the operating theatre staff.

However, as we’ll see, the practitioners depend on a huge team of support staff to ensure they can deliver the highest possible quality of care.

In an operating theatre, communication is key, and each member of the team must feel like they can depend on every other member of the team at all times.

Operating Department Practitioners (ODPs)

ODPs have a diverse range of skills across three main areas of the theatre:

  • Anaesthetics – While the anaesthetist works, the ODP will usually interact with the patient – talking to them and giving them whatever support they need to stay calm.
  • Scrub – While the theatre team is operating, the ODPs will ensure that all surgical equipment is readily available and adequately sterilised.
  • Recovery – ODPs will provide a lot of recovery support, including airway management, pain relief, and supervising patients as anaesthesia wears off.

Surgical Care Practitioners

Registered non-medical healthcare professionals who work with the surgical team to ensure the best outcome for the patient.

Before the operation, they will gather the patient’s medical history and perform an assessment. Throughout this process, they will liaise with the surgical team so as to inform them of any of the patient’s special requirements.

During procedures, they may be responsible for certain surgical interventions. These may include prepping the patient, assisting in haemostasis, and carrying out wound closure procedures.

Following the operation, they’ll assist in the patient assessments, and contribute to any meetings to discuss the patient’s ongoing care.

Recovery Practitioner

As the name suggests, recovery practitioners are there to oversee the patient’s recovery. Though their responsibilities begin before the procedure, as they usually assist the anaesthetist and ODP in supervising the patient.

Following the procedure, they’ll oversee advanced pain and airway management, and the ongoing monitoring of the patient for post-operative complications.

Support Workers

Finally, a team of support workers will carry out all the essential housekeeping duties and assist in any other activities essential to the smooth running of the operating theatre.

This might include maintaining the cleanliness of the theatre itself, as well as all ante rooms, changing rooms, kitchens, and sterilisation suites. They will also assist in stock management, keeping tabs on stock levels and ensuring that the team will always have everything they need, exactly when they need it.

Indeed, a good operating theatre support worker will be able to anticipate the requirements of the operating team, so they can give them the support they need before they even realise they need it.

Running an Efficient Operating Theatre

As we’ve seen, it takes a huge team of people to run a successful operating theatre.

Each member of the team needs to be in exactly the right place at exactly the right time. They should have fast access to exactly the equipment they need, and they should be able to depend on this equipment being in a safe and reliable condition.

Good communication is vital if such a large, multidisciplinary team is to function. Effective leadership can help create a culture in which each member of the team is perfectly aware of their role and responsibilities. But this is just one aspect of an efficient operating theatre.

Read our full guide to improving quality and efficiency in operating theatres.

Get Expert Advice Today

Whether you want a consultation on effective infection control, or some advice on improving operational effectiveness in the theatre, our experts are here to help.

Get in touch to talk to one of our expert consultants today.

Ambulance Cleaning and Decontamination Checklist

Regularly and thoroughly cleaning and decontaminating ambulances is essential for effective infection prevention and control.

Ambulance Cleaning and Decontamination Challenges

But there are several factors that make ambulance cleaning and decontamination challenging. It can be cramped inside an ambulance, and the sheer amount of equipment contained within can make quick cleans particularly difficult. Plus, ambulances also contain numerous delicate medical devices, which alcohol or chlorine-based disinfectants could easily damage.

But the biggest barrier to effective ambulance cleaning and decontamination is the need to keep downtime to a minimum. Ambulances are in high demand, and crews often use them in shifts. This leaves very little spare time for routine cleaning and decontamination.

How to Overcome Cleaning Challenges

So to overcome these challenges, ambulance services need to establish a cleaning procedure that is as fast and straightforward as possible. And at the same time, they must make use of cleaning products that run no risk of damaging or corroding any delicate equipment.

Ambulance Cleaning Checklist – An Example

Working to a checklist will help ambulance crews ensure they’re as thorough as possible in their limited windows for cleaning. A methodical approach will ensure that nothing gets overlooked during the cleaning and decontamination process.

Here’s an example ambulance cleaning checklist that covers all possible bases:

Item  
Door knobs and handles  
Door surface  
Patient bed  
Sitting couch  
Steering wheel  
Driver’s seat and other driving equipment  
Light switches  
Patient transfer trolley  
Other horizontal surfaces  
Windowsills  
Walls and corners  
Cardiac monitor  
Defibrillator  
Ventilator  
Leads (e.g. ECG)  
O2 Flowmeters  
ECG Machines  
Medicine Trolley  
Bed Sheets (Changed)  
Almira  
   
Signature:  

 

Hand Hygiene and PPE

Cleaning the interior of the ambulance is a vital part of infection prevention and control. But between cleaning procedures, ambulance staff can adopt measures to reduce the risk of infection.

Good hand hygiene is just as important in the ambulance as it is in any other healthcare environment. Paramedics should wash their hands at five key points:

  • Before they touch a patient.
  • After they touch a patient.
  • After touching a patient’s immediate surroundings.
  • Before undertaking any clean or antiseptic procedures.
  • After any body fluid exposure risk.

Paramedics should follow a specific hand washing technique to ensure thorough cleanliness. And they should have access to effective antimicrobial hand sanitiser as close as possible to the point of care.

They should also wear the appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE) for the task at hand.

For more information about good practice for staff, read our full guide to standard infection control precautions.

Choosing the Correct Ambulance Cleaning Products

The choice of cleaning product can make a huge difference in ambulance cleaning turnaround time.

Virusolve®+ Wipes are an effective one-step solution. They clean, sanitise and disinfect surfaces at once, so there’s no need to prepare surfaces beforehand, or treat them afterwards.

They’re odourless, colourless, non-hazardous, non-irritant, non-flammable and non-corrosive, so they’re safe to use on even the most delicate medical equipment. They can be used on any surface, including carpets and upholstery, and as they’re hypo-allergenic there’s no risk of triggering reactions in patients.

Using absorbent mats for certain procedures in the ambulance can also help reduce downtime. Some brands of floor mat can absorb up to 8.5 litres of water or 3.5 litres of saline, whilst non-slip alternatives may still prove useful for smaller spills of fluid up to 2 litres. Then afterwards, you can simply dispose of the mat and apply a fresh one. This means you won’t have to spend so long cleaning spills on surfaces.

Get in touch to discuss how we can help you ensure your ambulance cleaning process is as fast, effective and thorough as possible.

The Patient Safety and Infection Prevention Show 2023

The Patient Safety and Infection Prevention Show will run at the Healthcare Show taking place 26-27 April 2023 at ExCel London.

This is a two-day dedicated conference supporting doctors, nurses, infection prevention and control professionals, and any other healthcare professionals interested in the latest solutions for preventing infections and improving care quality standards.

What To Expect at the Patient Safety and Infection Prevention Show 2023

From practical solutions to a wealth of “how-to” advice, the Patient Safety and Infection Prevention Show 2023 has much to offer anyone looking to improve best-practice techniques in infection prevention and control.

Across the two-day conference, topics discussed will include:

  • Using technology to identify infections in their earliest stages.
  • How a more positive culture can help you transform patient safety.
  • A snapshot of the current state of patient safety and infection control across both the NHS and private healthcare settings.

The Patient Safety and Infection Prevention Show 2023 will also feature:

  • More than 300 exhibitors demonstrating fresh innovations and advanced solutions for improving care quality standards.
  • A range of inspirational keynote sessions from industry leaders.
  • The Primary Care & Integration Hub – featuring practical sessions focused on key challenges concerning workforce, finance, leadership, public engagement, technology, and governance.

Register for the Patient Safety and Infection Prevention Show 2023

The full programme for the Patient Safety and Infection Prevention Show 2023 will likely be announced in early 2023.

In the meantime, you can register to attend as a delegate, or book a stand as an exhibitor.

You can also sign up to the Healthcare Show’s Newsletter to receive updates on talks, exhibitors, and workshops as they’re announced.

Advanced Solutions for Patient Safety and Infection Prevention and Control from Cairn Technology

If you can’t wait until the Patient Safety and Infection Prevention Show 2023 to discuss the latest innovations in infection prevention and control, talk to us.

We can help you achieve best practice in patient safety through delivering top-of-the-line hygiene standards for staff and patients alike.

For more than 20 years, we’ve delivered cutting-edge products and services for hospitals and other healthcare settings. Many of our clients have relied on our products and services for more than 10 years. We’ve provided products and services to NHS hospitals, private hospitals, and independent clinics across the UK.

Here are just some of the advanced services and solutions we can provide:

  • Monitoring services – including workplace exposure monitoring, sterile services cleanroom testing, bio-burden testing, spill kit training, and face fit testing services.
  • Infection control products – including absorbent mats for fluid management and Blueair HealthProtect™ air purification systems.

Head here to browse our complete range of advanced products, services and solutions.

Talk to an Expert Today

If there’s anything you’d like to discuss, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our experts are always on hand to answer any of your questions concerning patient safety and infection prevention and control, and to provide all the help and support you might need.

Get in touch to talk to a Cairn Technology expert today.

Key Responsibilities for Operating Theatre Managers

Operating theatre managers are responsible for ensuring the successful running of the operating theatre environment.

But what does this actually involve? What does an operating theatre manager actually do?

In this post we’ll discuss some of the key responsibilities for operating theatre managers, while exploring ways managers can improve efficiency and care standards in their role.

Bear in mind: here we’re assessing an operating theatre manager’s general responsibilities. But for an idea of the specific challenges operating theatre managers may face today, be sure to read our guide to current issues in operating theatres.

What Are The Key Responsibilities for Operating Theatre Managers?

The operating theatre manager is responsible for most of the day-to-day operational issues within the operating department. They might be responsible for managing one department, or they might oversee operations across multiple sites.

Leadership, advice and communication
Operating theatre managers lead both medical and non-medical theatre staff. They provide professional leadership to the theatre teams, often providing professional and clinical advice regarding procedures and perioperative care, when necessary. At the same time, they’ll supervise all non-medical staff while promoting multidisciplinary teamwork and effective communication between team members at all levels.

Motivation and mentorship
A good operating theatre manager will focus on motivating and developing their team through providing mentorship, and through setting objectives and ensuring their delivery through personal development plans and appraisals.

Development and research
As well as developing their teams, the operating theatre manager will also work towards developing their departments. They might participate in research projects and research-based practice. They might also lead on the assessment, development and implementation of new evidence-based programmes for improved quality of care.

Budgeting, payroll and resource management
Finally, the operating theatre manager will supervise the administrative and logistical side of the operating theatre. This will involve overseeing the department’s budget and payroll, taking the lead on risk management and Health and Safety policies, and implementing resource management strategies. Operating theatre managers may also lead on developing effective infection prevention and control policies.

How Can Operating Theatre Managers Help Improve Quality and Efficiency in their Departments?

The NHS Productive Operating Theatre strategy recommends that operating theatre managers should commit to regular walk-arounds of the departments they oversee, as this can help them better understand the issues their frontline staff face each day.

Many operating theatre managers take such a hands-on approach. But it can be easy for some managers to lose sight of their department’s daily operations, particularly if they manage multiple sites.

Regular visits, along with regular discussions with staff, can help operating theatre managers get a reliable overview of their departments’ operational status. Areas of focus should include equipment availability and functionality, staff rotas, the number of cancellations and delays, and whether or not operating lists finish on schedule.

The NHS Productive Operating Theatre strategy also details how a well-organised theatre should run, with advice on improving patient preparation and turnaround. It also identifies seven key sources of waste in operating theatres. You can read our full guide to improving quality and efficiency in operating theatres here.

Investing in an Efficient Operating Theatre

Implementing resource management strategies is a key responsibility for an operating theatre manager. Operating theatre managers also oversee their department budgets, and a good manager will constantly seek ways they can invest their available funds to improve efficiency without compromising on quality of care.

The specific choice of equipment can make a huge difference to the department’s overall efficiency, but also to infection prevention and control – one of the major challenges operating theatre managers face in a post pandemic world.

This is one area where the smallest thing can make a significant difference. For example, high quality absorbent operating theatre floor mats can be simply picked up and discarded following procedures. This means that theatre teams will spend less time mopping between operations. So teams can significantly reduce the turnaround times between procedures while removing a major health and safety risk – slippery floors – all without compromising on hygiene standards.

At Cairn Technology, we specialise in helping operating theatre managers improve efficiency and care quality standards in their departments. Whether you want a consultation on effective infection control, or some advice on improving operational effectiveness in the theatre, our experts are here to help.

Get in touch to talk to one of our experts today.

Common Infections in Care Homes & Effects on Bed Shortage

Many types of viral and bacterial infection are common in care homes and residential care settings.

3 Factors That Make Infections a Major Concern in Care Homes

In this post we’ll discuss some of the common infections in care homes. We’ll also explore some ways to improve infection prevention and control in care homes and other healthcare settings.

Most Common Infections in Care Homes

One study of infection outbreaks in care homes found that more than 50% of all infection agents came from just four organisms:

  • The influenza virus
  • Norovirus
  • Salmonella
  • Streptococcus Pyogenes

Furthermore, this study found that the respiratory tract was affected in 45% of outbreaks in care homes. Meanwhile, the gastrointestinal tracts was involved in 26% of outbreaks, the skin in 7% and the eyes in 2%.

Other common infections in care homes include Clostridium difficile and Bacillary Dysentery. These are each bacterial infections that can lead to vomiting, fever, and diarrhoea.

This study was conducted in 2012. Since then, of course, the world’s faced numerous outbreaks of Covid-19. Many of these outbreaks hit care homes particularly hard, particularly in the early days of the pandemic.

The latest Omicron variants may not be as deadly as the earlier variants, but they may still pose a risk to certain at-risk groups. Care home managers may have to account for the risks of further Omicron outbreaks for years to come.

How To Prevent and Control Common Infections in Care Homes

The key to infection prevention and control in care settings is to understand how these infections spread. Also, some care home residents may be unable to effectively communicate that they’re feeling bad. So learning the common symptoms of these infections is vital. The earlier you can spot the symptoms, the earlier you can act to protect both staff and patients from further infection.

Here are some general strategies care home managers can adopt to prevent and control infection:

  • Staff Training – Make sure all members of staff understand the common infections they might have to deal with, including the symptoms and how they might spread.
  • Policies and Procedures – You should have specific policies and procedures in place for managing infections, and all members of staff should be able to access these documents at all times.
  • Zoning – If a member of staff catches an infection, they should not come to work. If a resident catches an infection, you should shield them from the rest of the residents for as long as they carry an infection risk. You should also have a policy for informing the resident’s friends and relatives should they catch an infection, as you may have to delay visits for a while.
  • PPE & Hand Hygiene – Staff should wear appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE) when interacting with residents who may have infections. They should also practice good hand hygiene, thoroughly washing their hands both before and after interactions.
  • Cough and Sneeze Etiquette – As many common care home infections are spread via coughs and sneezes, staff should encourage residents to cover their noses and mouths whenever they need to sneeze or cough. They could also provide ample tissues (and instruct residents to “catch it, bin it, kill it”), and adequate hand washing facilities.
  • Cleaning Procedures – Bacteria and viruses can linger on surfaces for hours. It’s likely that most if not all care homes already have stringent cleaning procedures in place. But these procedures should also account for how viruses and bacteria can linger on soft furnishings, including carpets, curtains, and upholstery.

You can read official UK government guidance on infection prevention and control in care homes.

How Air Purification Can Form a Critical Part of Infection Prevention and Control in Care Homes

Though there are many ways for infections to spread in care homes, many of the viruses and bacteria that are responsible for these infections are airborne.

Good air filtration can therefore make a huge difference in preventing and controlling infection in care homes. For example, a recent University of Cambridge study found that an air filtration system in a Covid-19 ward successfully removed almost all traces of the airborne virus.

Our range of HealthProtect air purifiers are specifically designed for hospitals and other healthcare facilities – including care homes and other residential care settings.

The BlueAir HealthProtect 7740i Air Purifier can deliver complete filtration every 12.5 minutes in rooms as large as 62m². Its filters can trap up to 99.97% of particles down to 0.1 microns, and up to 99% of viruses and bacteria – including those responsible for all of the most common outbreaks in care homes.

Want to talk about how we can help prevent infections and improve the air quality in your care home? Get in touch to talk to one of our air purification experts today.

The Importance of Fluid Management in Burns Patients

Severe fluid loss following injuries is a major issue for burns patients – particularly if their injuries are substantial. Most treatments for burns involve fluid resuscitation procedures – which is one reason why effective fluid management is central to the treatment of burns patients.

Why Fluid Management Matters for Burns Patients

Good fluid management in burns patient is vital for three reasons:

  • The fluid management of major burns has a huge impact on the patient’s survival and recovery.
  • Excess or spilled fluids can cause a slipping hazard, as well as an infection risk.
  • The need to clean excessive fluids can increase the turnaround times between procedures, affecting the overall efficiency of the operating theatre.

Fluid Management Techniques for Burns Injuries

Fluid management procedures for major burn injuries are designed to maintain tissue perfusion while replacing intravascular fluid loss in order to prevent organ hypoperfusion and ischaemia. The nature of the procedure will depend on the extent and location of the patient’s injuries, as well as their age. Children and elderly patients may need more intensive treatment, for example.

Depending on the patient’s circumstances, fluid management will either be achieved via an intravascular procedure, or through enteral resuscitation with balanced salt solutions.

Practitioners use a variety of formulae when calculating the volume of resuscitation fluid to use when treating burns patients. These formulae take into account both the patient’s bodyweight and their burn surface area, though practitioners may use specific formulae when treating child patients to account for their higher surface area to mass ratio.

The resuscitation used in burn fluid management procedures is designed to restore plasma volume while minimising adverse effects, such as the risk of infection. Read our full guide to preventing infections in burns patients.

The Role of Sterile mats in Effective Fluid Management in Burns Patients

Absorbent mats can play a crucial role in effective fluid management in burns patients. They can help keep both staff and the treatment area dry, which means fewer slipping hazards, improved infection control, and a reduced turnaround time between procedures.

Cairn Technology’s  DryMax Sterile Mats can absorb up to 6 litres of water or 2.4 litres of saline. Place the DryMax Sterile Mat next to the burns patient during their fluid management procedure and it’ll effectively help to capture all the various drips and spills created by the procedure.

Then following the procedure, you can simply dispose of the mat in the appropriate waste channel. This will allow for faster and more effective cleaning between procedures. So, as well as making your procedure cleaner and safer, it can also help make your burns unit as a whole run smoother and more efficiently.

Our DryMax Sterile Mats are completely latex-free. You can use them flat, folded or rolled depending on your needs.

Head here to learn more about how our DryMax Sterile Mats can contribute to effective fluid management in burns patients while helping boost your theatre’s overall efficiency.

Want to try some samples of DryMax Sterile Mats or to discuss your theatre’s fluid collection requirements? Call 0333 015 4345 or email info@cairntechnology.com.

 

How to Clean & Prevent Infection in GP Waiting Rooms

Every year, the UK is hit by multiple viruses. Some of these are seasonal, including influenza A, influenza B, RSV, and rhinovirus. And of course, we must now live with Covid-19 alongside these common viruses.

GP waiting rooms can inadvertently help spread infection. Patients may visit their GP about an unrelated condition, but leave having caught a new infection.

In this post, we’ll explore some of the measures GP surgeries can adopt to prevent and control the risks of infection, through the winter months and beyond.

New IPC Guidance Policies for GP Surgeries

The NHS Infection Prevention and Control team (IPC) released a new set of policies in July 2021. For more information, you can read the latest IPC guidelines for general practice.

Some of the advised measures include:

  • Site specific policies. All GP surgeries should have effective infection prevention control policies relevant for their practice. It should be regularly updated and accessible to all. Also, all surgeries should appoint an IPC lead, who has the authority to implement change where it’s needed.
  • The IPC policy should cover staff training requirements, and specify how frequently staff should receive training updates.
  • Contractors should follow a general cleaning schedule. This should include detailed guidelines for specific areas, fixtures, and fittings, with priority given to high-frequency touch items including door handles and light switches.
  • The IPC policy should advise on what PPE to use, and when. It should also cover staff training in effective use and disposal of PPE.

Cleaning & Infection Control in GP Waiting Rooms

Cleaning Waiting Room Soft Furnishings

Viruses and bacteria can linger and spread in the fibres of carpets and curtains. For this reason, clinical areas should not have carpets. But there should be clear policies in place for the frequency of cleaning carpets, curtains, and other soft furnishings in waiting rooms. There should also be specific guidelines to follow should any item of furniture get contaminated with body fluids or spillages.

Hand Hygiene in GP Waiting Rooms

All staff and patients should have access to adequate handwashing facilities. Staff should follow standard hand hygiene protocols. All patients should be encouraged to wash their hands as frequently as possible, and ideally before and after they interact with doors, light switches, and other possible infection vectors.

Cough and Sneeze Etiquette Communication

Catch it, bin it, kill it. All staff and patients should cover their nose and mouth with a disposable tissue when sneezing, coughing, wiping or blowing. They should then immediately dispose of that tissue before washing their hands. GP surgeries can promote good cough and sneeze etiquette among their patients through making the guidelines clearly visible, and through providing tissues, plastic bags for disposal, and hand hygiene facilities.

Read our full guide to standard infection control precautions. These precautions are relevant to all healthcare settings, which of course includes GP surgeries.

Ventilation Concerns for Infection Prevention and Control

GP waiting rooms are enclosed spaces where infected patients can spend extended periods of time. And in the winter months, waiting rooms are less likely to be adequately ventilated. Surgeries will keep their doors and windows closed while running their central heating. These conditions can create a hotbed of infection.

A good air purifier can completely filter the air in a room, trapping and killing any viruses that might be lingering in the atmosphere. This, combined with an effective cleaning policy, can make a huge difference in reducing the risk of infection in GP waiting rooms.

The Blueair air purifier has a Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) that will completely filter the air in a GP waiting room 4.8 times an hour. It uses a series of filters to capture 99.97% of airborne particles as small as 0.1 micron – including many common seasonal viruses and bacteria.

You can browse our full range of air purifiers for healthcare settings.

Got some questions? Need some support? Get in touch to talk to our friendly team of expert air purification consultants.

How Many Dentists Have Left the NHS?

In the past few years, thousands of dentists have left the NHS.

How Many NHS Dentists Are There?

According to one report, at the end of 2020 there were 23,733 dentists providing NHS care in England. By the end of January 2022, this figure had fallen to 21,544.

As each dentist manages a caseload of around 2,000 patients , this mass desertion has lead to the creation of “dental deserts”, leaving approximately four million people without access to dental care on the NHS.

It looks like the problem is only going to get worse, too. According to the British Dental Association (BDA), 75% of UK dentists are likely to reduce, or further reduce, their NHS commitment over the next 12 months. 45% claim they’re going to go fully private, and 47% suggest they’re either going to change career or seek early retirement.

Why Are So Many Dentists Leaving the NHS?

Shawn Charlwood, chair of the BDA’s General Dental Practice Committee, attributes the mass exodus to dentists feeling “overstretched and underfunded” during and after the recent Covid-19 pandemic.

According to BDA figures, 87% of UK dentists have experienced symptoms of stress, burnout and other mental health problems over the last 12 months. And it seems that patients, frustrated by the lack of available NHS dentist appointments, may be taking out their anger on staff. 86% of UK dentist report that colleagues in their practice have received physical or verbal abuse from patients.

What’s the Problem with the NHS Dental Contract?

The BDA argues that the current NHS dental contract, which has been in place since 2006, “puts government contracts ahead of patient need”.

For years, this contract set untenable incentives. For example, dentists would receive the same renumeration for doing one filling as they would for doing 10. It’s for such reasons that the Health Select Committee described the contract as “unfit for purpose”.

NHS Dental Contract Changes in 2022/23

In July 2022, the government announced a number of changes to the NHS dental contract. These included:

  • A new minimum payment for hitting targets.
  • A higher reward for treating three or more teeth.
  • Dental therapists can now accept patients for certain NHS treatments, freeing up dentists’ time for more urgent and complex procedures.
  • New payment rates for more complex treatments.
  • Updates to the NHS website and directory of services to help patients find dentists in their local area.

The BDA argued that these new contractual arrangements “do not even begin to address the system’s fundamental flaws… this is another attempt to conjure up more capacity without adding any new investment.”

The Collapse of Dentistry on the NHS?

In September 2022, NHS England released on update on the reforms their dental contract changes for 2022/2023.

The BDA, who previously claimed that “dentists are simply not seeing a future in the NHS”, seems cautiously optimistic that these changes may make a difference. However, they’ve also described these changes as “modest and marginal”, claiming that dentistry needs an immediate funding injection of £880m to stabilise the situation in the short-term.

Eddie Crouch, chairman of the BDA, called for “real commitment; root-and-branch reform and adequate funding.

And unless the government makes this “real commitment” soon, it seems that dentists will continue to leave the NHS, and those “dental deserts” will continue to grow.

A Message to Dental Patients

Despite the problems many are having seeing a dentist on the NHS, Chief Dental Officer for England Sara Hurley said that anyone experiencing tooth issues should contact their local dentist as usual.

She said: “Infection prevention and control measures to protect staff and patients were introduced during the pandemic. These limited the number of procedures NHS dentists could carry out.”

“However, these restrictions have now been lifted enabling practices to operate at full capacity for the first time in two years, so anyone with concerns about their dental health should contact their local dentist as they usually would or seek advice from NHS 111.”

A Message to Dental Surgeries

We know that the last few years have been difficult and that you’ve probably had to deal with higher levels of staff absences due to infection. We’d love you to see how,  by installing our Blueair air purifiers in your surgery, you can tacklethis issue and reduce illness. Why not get in touch with us to find out how we can support you?