Infection Control in Hospital Wards

The core of any acute healthcare facility is the in-patient wards and departments.

We understand the pressures around patient turnover and preparing ward spaces for new patients. While manual cleaning on-ward is an option, there are intricate parts of objects that may be missed by this process. There may also be added considerations when working around current operational procedures that may limit your access to conduct cleaning practices, particularly around spaces that are patient-occupied.

We work with NHS Trusts to establish a process that works around a PEC Centre (Patient Equipment Cleaning), which allows patient equipment, such as the bed, mattress, chair and over-bed table, to be taken off-ward to a dedicated cleaning and decontamination space. Here, equipment follows a one-way flow through four effective key stages starting from ‘dirty storage’ into ‘cleaning station’ where equipment is steam cleaned and manually wiped down, then into ‘HPV decontamination’, and finally finishing in ‘clean storage’ where it stays until it’s booked out for the next patient.

By establishing these designated spaces, infection risks are efficiently managed with the quality and consistency of the cleaning routine maintained, inventory monitored, and the process regulated. It also improves the focused attention of staff which frees up nursing time to care. Additionally, by having dedicated team zones, resources can be focused and allocated appropriately, and wasted time is reduced.

Through our work with the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, a PEC Centre was established in a decant ward near a target medical ward of concern, which was prone to higher rates of infection compared to other wards. The Covid-19 pandemic provided the opportunity for the Trust to bring their decontamination plans ahead of schedule with cohesive results. The hospital wanted to limit numbers put on furlough, and so the PEC Centre allowed re-deployment of identified high-risk staff, putting them into non-patient-facing roles. This team were passionate about their roles, understanding at this difficult time more than ever, how important it was that the work they were doing had a direct impact and effect on reducing the number of hospital acquired infections (HAIs). By implementing the PEC Centre and integrated decontamination process, the Trust were able to reduce bed turnaround times in green and amber wards by 15%.