Infection Prevention in Patients with Cystic Fibrosis

S.Borrell RN, CICP-E1,

1 Alfred Health, 55 Commercial Rd Prahran Vic, 3004,


Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is the most commonly genetically acquired, life-shortening chronic illness affecting young Australians. The average lifespan of people with CF is increasing with improved medical management, including lung transplantation for those with severe disease, therefore increasing the number of patients needing regular healthcare. Mortality is due to pulmonary deterioration in all but a few cases. Progressive lung damage is due to repeated chest infections with the majority of adults requiring continuous or as needed inhaled antibiotics. The prevention of resistant organism colonisation and infection in people with CF is vital as it impacts on lifestyle and healthcare inpatient and outpatient management. In addition, infection with certain microorganisms is associated with increased respiratory symptoms and poor outcomes which affect lung transplantation suitability.

This presents unique challenges for healthcare workers as these colonising organisms are often inherently resistant to several classes of antibiotics and may be acquired from the natural environment, contaminated surfaces and equipment or other people with CF.

This presentation will address the current environmental management of people with Cystic Fibrosis at Alfred Hospital, one of 2 adult centres offering this specialist service in Victoria, describe the updated Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) and The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation 2013 guidelines, emerging pathogens and infection prevention challenges.

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