In this blog "the diary of a compulsive learner" is focussing on environmental swabbing.
For the last two year I have been lucky enough to work part time at Northwest Veterinary Surgeons where I spend most of my time safely locked away upstairs in theatre, occasionally being let out to fulfil my role as a member of the infection control committee. One of my responsibilities is to perform environmental swabbing and environmental surveillance of the hospital which are sent for external analysis.
The results of these swabs allow us to assess how well we are performing so that we can make informed decisions about our cleaning protocols and make changes in line with best practise.
The practice is divided into areas and each month those areas and individual pieces of equipment are swabbed.
What happens when we get a positive culture? Results are dependant on when the swabs are taken with respect to when cleaning was performed. Positive results are not surprising for our industry, but results highlighting the presence of potentially pathogenic bacteria enables the practice to significantly improve cleaning protocols in these areas.
The clinical lead in the relevant department are contacted and asked to outline current cleaning protocols; with help from the infection control committee the clinical leads ensure a standard protocol can be introduced or a current protocol reviewed and updated where necessary.
Any area that has received a positive culture, will be scheduled for a repeat sample to assess whether the changes have been effective.
This is a simple surveillance system that can be introduced to any practice and can have a positive impact on raising standards of infection control. With antimicrobial resistance becoming a real threat to our patients, the industry as a whole needs to start taking infection control to another level.
If infection control is something you want to take seriously, why not join us for our webinar Prevention of Antimicrobial Resistance in Small Animal Practice on 3rd October 2018