Thursday, October 26, 2017

Partnership offers learnings on infection control measures

Project CARE is a collaborative programme started by Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) in April 2009 to improve the quality of care provided to nursing home residents, and to enable them to spend their final days with dignity. Society for the Aged Sick (SAS) was one of the earliest homes to work with TTSH under Project CARE.

During a visit to SAS on 1 June 2017, the Project CARE team detected that six residents living in the same ward cubicle were afflicted with Influenza A. The team then worked closely with SAS staff to implement infection control measures.

Every day, SAS nurses took the temperature of all residents and staff in the morning and afternoon. After the SAS nurses obtained nasal and oral swabs from those who presented with fever and flu-like symptoms, Project CARE nurses collected and sent the specimens to TTSH’s lab for testing. When the lab results were released, Project CARE doctors prescribed Tamiflu, an antiviral medication, and the SAS nurses administered it to affected residents within 48 hours.

Other measures that were implemented include:

  • Ensuring that staff used personal protective equipment and masks;
  • Communicating with staff via department meetings, emails and WhatsApp;
  • Educating staff on good personal hygiene practices;
  • Reducing home activities and residents’ movement around the premises;
  • Reporting residents with symptoms to the nurse-in-charge; and
  • Assigning a dedicated nursing team to each affected ward cubicle.

A few days after the outbreak was first detected, the situation seemed to be better controlled. Although the team still had to do some swab tests, the number of detected cases had reduced. Within just one month, there were no more detected cases.

Sharing their experience, the team from SAS said, “The journey may not have been easy if we walked on our own. With great teamwork and support from every department, in addition to the collaboration between SAS and TTSH, we could achieve success in ensuring quality of health to residents and staff during the influenza period.”

The Project CARE team works closely with SAS staff to improve the quality of care provided to their residents.

Photo(s) credit: Society for the Aged Sick

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