Winning the fight against infection

Assistant matron for infection prevention and control Lynn Blackwood (left) and infection, prevention and control nurse Elizabeth Warde

Assistant matron for infection prevention and control Lynn Blackwood (left) and infection, prevention and control nurse Elizabeth Warde

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TEAMWORK and spreading the word. They’re the key to keeping the bugs away.

The fight against infection in hospitals is being waged across the country.

And it’s an issue which is being tackled with determination closer to home.

The infection prevention and control team at the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust have, over the last week, taken part in events to raise awareness.

The trust signed up to the World Health Organisation (WHO) global hand hygiene initiative called Save Lives: Clean Your Hands.

The week-long series of events including promotion stands being erected where information was given out to the public about effective hand hygiene to stop the spread of infections.

A poster competition was also held on a children’s ward.

Assistant matron for infection prevention and control Lynn Blackwood said: “Cleaning hands before and after having contact with patients is one of the most important measures for preventing the spread infection.

“We have found the event to be a valuable way of engaging staff from all over the trust and reminding them of the importance of hand hygiene.

“We take infection prevention and control and cleanliness very seriously at the trust, to make sure we are giving our patients the best possible care in the best possible environment.

“Hand hygiene is the single most important way of preventing the spread of infection and if everyone works together we will continue to reduce the risk of infection.”

And even though the week-long campaign is over, the fight against infection goes on.

The public can play a huge part in it.

Patients and visitors using hospitals in Hartlepool and North Tees can give a helping hand in reducing the risk of infection in many ways:

They include:

l Patients should try to avoid touching wounds.

l Patients should limit the number of items they bring into hospital – clutter makes it more difficult to control infection.

l Visitors should not sit on patients’ beds.

l Visitors who feel unwell and have illnesses such as colds should avoid visiting patients unless it is absolutely necessary.

l Most importantly, everyone should clean their hands.