Two visitors per patient, stringent hand sanitary practices and an increased number of hand sanitisers are among the measures being instituted at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital to manage infectious disease issues there.
Some weeks ago the QEH had alerted the public to the presence of an infectious organism called klebsiella pneumoniae, which was present at the hospital and which they were seeking the assistance of the Pan American Health Organisation in reviewing procedures in place to battle any spread or control the situation.
The QEH also announced that following the visit of the special PAHO team, Dr. Corey Forde had been appointed as Consultant of Medicine to lead the hospital’s Infection Control team.
It noted too that the report submitted by PAHO stressed “the importance of hand hygiene practices, cohorting, contact precautions, safety practices and increased knowledge to facilitate behavior change in both staff and the public”.
Hospital CEO, Dr. Dexter James said the institution’s main focus was to ensure that the recommendations from PAHO were carefully reviewed and implemented, in a timely and effective manner.
“So far, with the appointment of Dr. Forde, over 300 staff members have undergone hand hygiene training and sensitisation. These training sessions will continue for the next two weeks. As it relates to patients, critical care units have increased screening of all patients on entry and exit of the units,” he said.
Forde indicated as well that there were several other measures they were putting in place and asking the public to assist with as they continued to battle the organism.
He said they were asking the public to reduce the number of people visiting a patient to a maximum of two per bed, and also asking those visitors not to sit on the beds as it could transfer germs from the clothing.
Visitors were also asked to sanitise the hands before and after, if visiting more than one patient, and also on entering and leaving ward. Those who are ill were asked to stay away from visiting patients who could be susceptible to infection.
Any areas that were found to be unsanitary, the hospital asked that the public report such to the sister or nurse-in-charge.
Forde said: “Simple things like washing or sanitising hands before contact with patients will be enforced and we urge the public not to be afraid to remind your doctors and nurses of these things. We won’t be offended; it is for the safety of us all.
“Fifty additional alcohol hand sanitisers were mounted last week and over 100 more will be installed over the weekend in strategic locations such as; the main public areas, the entrance to the wards and the entrance to the cubicles. We are asking patients, staff and visitors to use them on entering the ward and after visiting their loved ones when leaving,” he said.
He further stated that another measure implemented, is the number of times the housekeeping staff will clean the areas where patients who have severe infections are located. All clinical areas are cleaned rigorously with a chlorine-based hospital-approved cleaning product. (LB)