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Infection awareness – know the signs

14 October 2016

Sherwood Forest Hospitals is once again giving their support to International Infection Prevention and Control Week by giving advice to patients, visitors and staff on recognising the signs of infection.

International Infection Prevention and Control Week is held every year during the third week in October. It aims to highlight and promote the work that healthcare staff do in relation to the prevention of infection in order to keep patients, staff and visitors safe.

Specialist nurses will be on hand from 17 to 21 October from 9.30am until 3pm in the main foyer at King’s Mill Hospital to raise awareness and give out information about healthcare associated infections such as methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and C. Difficile, plus other infections not directly related to healthcare settings, which can include urinary tract and surgical site infections.

Nurse Consultant Rosie Dixon said: “Signs of infection can include a fever and a feeling of being unwell. It is important that these symptoms are recognised early and the infection treated by a healthcare professional.

“An untreated infection could result in a potentially serious illness, such as sepsis, which could be life threatening if not treated promptly.”

Sepsis awareness is part of the Trust’s mandatory training procedures and all new clinical staff undergo this as part of their induction. Figures show that more than 90 per cent of patients who are identified as, or suspected of, having sepsis receive antibiotics within the recommended 60 minutes. This puts Sherwood Forest Hospitals among the best performing Trusts in England for management and screening of the condition.

The Trust is also making great strides in reducing healthcare associated infections. Cases of C. Difficile have been reduced by a third each year for the past two years, and in September 2016 there were no recorded no cases. There have also been no cases MRSA bacteraemia blood infections for 15 months.

The success in controlling healthcare associated infections is down to innovations and improvements in place to control the spread of infection, including decontamination, sterilisation and deep cleaning protocols.

Rosie Dixon added: “We are also urging patients and visitors to help us reduce the spread of infection. We can unknowingly spread germs on our hands to others and the environment.

“Hand hygiene is the simplest way to prevent the spread of germs; everyone should wash their hands carefully with soap and water or use antibacterial hand gel upon entering hospital. Visitors should also reconsider coming into hospital if they have an illness such as a cough, cold or gastroenteritis.”