Mrs Rebecca Edgar1, Mrs Kaye Bellis1, Mrs Christine Sharp1
1Alfred Health, Melbourne, Australia
Introduction: We coasted into 2020 on the back of sustained improvement in shared patient equipment cleaning (SPEC). We assumed that the heightened focus on infection prevention (IP) related to COVID-19 would assist us in keeping up the trend. Over the course of 2020, we observed a significant decrease in cleaning compliance. There has been an increasing body of evidence that environmental contamination has been implicated in COVID-19 transmission. Also this problem was identified within our own facility, further investigation was warranted.
Method: IP resources were focused on upskilling a large number of health care workers (HCW) in personal protective equipment (PPE) and implementing frequent policy changes. These policy changes, redeployments and changing products challenged already overloaded and anxious staff. Understandably, staff attention appeared to be diverted from SPEC.
- Reviewing fluorescent marking product;
- Marking and cleaning techniques;
- Auditing tool;
- Assessing feedback loop;
- Increased support from Executive;
- Extra resources and frequency of auditing;
- Developing consolidated results dashboard;
- Virtual education and collaborations
Results: With increased auditing and resources there has been improvement in some wards but this needs to be expanded and sustained. We found managers were overwhelmed and staff struggled to prioritise SPEC. Emphasis on transmission based precautions, specifically PPE, has questionably been to the detriment of adherence of standard precautions.
Conclusion: IP continues to support staff to adapt to the ever-changing environment. By ascertaining barriers we adjusted our strategies to improved practices.
Kaye, Christine & Rebecca are passionate team members of the Alfred Health Infection Prevention Team.