Ms Suzanne Alexander1, Mrs Joanna Harris1
1Infection Management and Control Service, Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, Australia
Environmental cleaning is an essential component of a health care facility’s (HCF) strategy to prevent health care associated infections. Hotel services staff receive less education opportunities than clinical staff yet are a vital part of the team striving to keep HCFs clean and preventing patients from acquiring infections.
ISLHD (Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District) IMACS (Infection Management and Control Service) began delivering education sessions annually in 2014 for cleaners, wards people, Hospital and Security Assistants (HASAs), Emergency Department Support Officers (EDSOs) and hotel service managers working in hospital and community based settings. In 2017 thirteen sessions were held across the LHD. Staff attended from hospitals, Mental Health and Ambulatory Primary Health care services. The content of these sessions comprised Standard and Transmission-based precautions, personal protective equipment, hand hygiene, risk assessments, terminal and outbreak cleaning, cleaning zones and staff health. Theoretical content was supported by the opportunity to develop practical skills in recognising high-touch areas, glove use, hand hygiene and equipment cleaning with the aid of disclosure products and UV light sources giving opportunities to correct practise.
A total of 165 staff attended the interactive education sessions. 96% of attendees completed an evaluation. Of these respondents, 100% stated they learned something from the presentation and 100% stated the practical exercises were worthwhile.
The education sessions were well attended and very favourably evaluated. Participants voiced an interest in the sessions continuing annually. All staff participated in the practical activities and offered suggestions for further education sessions.
Suzanne registered as a nurse in 1984. She worked for many years as a Community Nurse and began dabbling in Infection control in 2001. She has worked as a Clinical Nurse Consultant in Infection Prevention and Control since 2007. She carries the Environmental Cleaning portfolio for the Illawarra/Shoalhaven Infection Management and Control Service.