A new era – a new outlook

The Annual Infection Control Conference, a key infection prevention and control conference of 2007, is an essential event for anyone who has the challenge of preventing and controlling infections that occur through the provision of care or in the wider community.
It consists of key seminars, workshops, a panel discussion and plenty of opportunities for networking, not to mention the excellent exhibition and poster presentations. The aim of this year’s conference is to evaluate the individual and organisational factors that challenge infection prevention and control during the provision of care and in the wider community, and to propose solutions that should influence future prevention strategies and measures.

Hand hygiene
A number of recent UK initiatives have been launched to address some of the challenges with hand hygiene compliance, including the National Patient Safety Agency’s ‘Clean Your Hands Campaign’, the National Public and NHS Hand Hygiene Campaign in Scotland (www.washyourhandsofthem.com), the Department of Health Bulletin recommending hand gels at each bed, and the Scottish Chief Nursing Officer Letter on alcohol based handrubs and infection control, as well as ICNA and Royal College of Nursing initiatives.
The issue, however, still remains that whether in healthcare settings or in the public domain hand hygiene compliance rates are not of an acceptable standard. A number of recently published observational studies demonstrated that rates of compliance with hand hygiene are still relatively low, despite introduction of alcohol hand rub, sufficient and accessible hand hygiene facilities and staff education.
Compliance with hand hygiene will remain high on the agenda while healthcare associated infection rates are deemed to be at an unacceptable level.

Strains of MRSA have continued to emerge worldwide and, despite some temporary waning in the 1970s, have become firmly established in the UK and many parts of the world. Since the mid 1980s strains designated ‘epidemic’ or EMRSA have emerged and have spread throughout the UK and many parts of the world.
Currently the proportion of Staph aureus blood stream infections reported in England that are MRSA is around 40 per cent with similar figures for the rest of the UK (Health Protection Agency 2006). This figure has been stable in recent years after rising seemingly inexorably throughout the 1990s and the first few years of this century; indeed the UK still remains in an unenviable position near the top of the European league table for MRSA.
This year’s conference will challenge behaviours in the hope of promoting infection prevention and control standards, including compliance with hand hygiene and competence towards preventing and controlling MRSA and C. difficile, an anaerobic bacterium that causes diarrhoeal disease, among other alert organisms and communicable diseases that challenge our healthcare systems on a daily basis.

Conference highlights
Some of the highly relevant lectures you won’t want to miss include:
Monday 24 September. Theme – Infection prevention – refocusing behaviour, aiming to evaluate the challenges posed by behaviours, including those of healthcare workers that may affect infection rates, patient safety and public health:

  • Infection prevention: challenging behaviour, changing the culture – Professor Elaine Larson: Associate Dean of Research, Columbia University School of Nursing
  • Antibiotic control or infection control for MRSA? – Dr Ian Gould: Consultant Microbiologist, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary
  • Reducing MRSA bacteraemia on the adult ICU – Dr Jonathan Fennell: Consultant Microbiologist, Southampton University Hospitals Trust
  • A dynamic assessment strategy for hand hygiene: changing healthcare professionals’ cognitions – Dr Elizabeth Jenner: Principal Lecturer in Infection Control, University of Hertfordshire.

Tuesday 25 September. Theme – Embedding infection prevention into organisational culture – which aims to describe innovative and proven strategies for embedding infection prevention into individual behaviour and organisational culture that influence the control of healthcare associated infections and communicable disease:

  • Translating hospital – acquired infection prevention research into practice – Professor Sanjay Saint: Professor of Medicine, Ann Arbor VA Medical Centre and University of Michigan Health System
  • Clinical and cost effectiveness of screening for MRSA – Harpreet Kohli: NHS Quality Improvement Scotland
  • Utilising room design to prevent infection spread – Malcolm Thomas: Consulting Engineer.

Wednesday 26 September. Theme – Informing the outlook of infection prevention which aims to provide an overview of the current and future challenges being faced by practitioners and explore the solutions to controlling such healthcare associated infections and communicable diseases:

  • Community Acquired MRSA – Dr Marina Morgan: Consultant Microbiologist, Royal Devon and Exeter Foundation Trust
  • Clostridium difficile infection, easier to prevent than cure – Professor Mark Wilcox: Director of Infection Prevention and Control, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and University of Leeds.

The conference gives the opportunity to gather a wide range of valuable information to challenge day to day infection prevention and control practices by attending just one event!
The ICNA look forward to seeing you in Brighton, 24 – 26 September 2007.

For more information
Website: www.comtec-presentations.com/icna  

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