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Preventing the Spread of Infections

In addition to our normal infection control procedures and high standard of cleanliness, Bedford Hospital has a set procedure for caring for the patient but also preventing the spread of infection once it is identified on a ward.

Our procedure will vary depending on the nature of the infection but generally involves isolating the patient with the infection and thoroughly cleaning the affected area.

Five Moments of Hand Hygiene

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The section below details how we respond when we discover a patient has an infection:


C. difficile associated disease

If a patient is showing symptoms associated with C. diff, the patient will be moved to a single room. A thorough clean (or deep clean) will take place in the area where the patient was staying on the ward to ensure the infection does not spread to other patients on the ward. In most cases it is not necessary to close the ward to admissions or visitors.

We have a dedicated unit for the treatment and expert care of patients confirmed to have the disease.


The Harpur Cohort Ward

In January 2007 Bedford Hospital opened a new ward which specialises in isolating, caring for and treating patients who have tested positive to Clostridium difficile.

The benefits of the cohort ward include:

  • Isolating patients with C. diff to prevent the infection from being spread to other patients;
  • Expert doctors, nurses and cleaning staff on the ward specially trained in caring for patients with C. diff.


MRSA

We have a rigorous screening programme for MRSA and aim to ensure that patients who may be carrying the bug on admission to the hospital are nursed separately. Our screening programme is in line with national guidance and includes:

  • Patients previously identified as having MRSA;
  • Patients who have been in any hospital within the last year;
  • Patients due to come in for surgery;
  • Patients who are admitted as an emergency for surgery;
  • Patients who live in a nursing home or residential home;
  • Patients admitted from another hospital or healthcare facility;
  • All patients admitted to the intensive care unit or neonatal unit;
  • Patients who move ward within the hospital;

MRSA screening consists of a swab taken from the nose, groin and any skin breaks (the areas where MRSA is most likely to live).

We try to nurse all patients who are undergoing MRSA screening in a single room whenever possible. Our bed management team works very hard to minimise the risks to all patients.

Sometimes MRSA develops whilst the patient is in hospital. If a patient tests positive to MRSA, the patient may be moved to an isolation room to prevent the infection from spreading to other patients.

A thorough clean (or deep clean) will take place in the area where the patient was staying on the ward to ensure the infection does not spread to other patients on the ward. The Infection Control Team will sometimes recommend that adjacent patients are screened to ensure that they haven’t also got MRSA. In most cases it is not necessary to close the ward to admissions or visitors.


ESBL producing organisms

Some bugs that usually live in the intestines can produce a chemical known as “ESBL” (Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamase) that makes them resistant to certain antibiotics in common use in hospitals. These bugs are generally carried by patients who are admitted into the hospital and can potentially cause cross-infection. If we find these bugs living on a patient, the patient will usually be moved to a single room and the area where they were staying would be deep-cleaned.


Norovirus

Norovirus often causes outbreaks because it is very easily spread from one person to another (including healthy people) and the virus is able to survive in the environment for many days.

Due to the nature of Norovirus, if any patient shows symptoms associated with the virus, it will be necessary to restrict the amount of people in the area. This is done by closing the ward to admissions and transfers and to visitors.

Our High Cleans Team will carry out a prompt disinfection of the ward area to help prevent the virus from spreading. It is important that staff, visitors and patients maintain good hygiene measures.

After 48 hours after symptoms of the virus have ceased, the ward will be opened once again.


Help Us to Prevent the Spread of Infections

We have developed a “Visitors’ Charter” which gives a few simple steps to help prevent infections spreading in our hospital.

Good hand hygiene is one of the most effective methods for preventing the spread of hospital acquired infections.

Hand Washing
Hand Gel

To help prevent the spread of infections, please wash your hands with soap and water before entering hospital wards or use the hand gel provided at every entrance.