SURF Workshop 25 September 2012

Maria Cann and Helen Bronstein attended the SURF Workshop in London. There were a lot of interesting learning and development opportunities discussed, and updates on research projects that we are involved in.

Heather Loveday of the HCAI Research Network spoke of opportunities for SURF to contribute to the Advisory Committee on Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infection (ARHAI). The committee was established in April 2007 to provide practical and scientific advice to the Government on strategies to minimise the incidence of healthcare associated infections and to maintain the effectiveness of antimicrobial agents in the treatment and prevention of microbial infections in man and animals. There are some key areas that the committee are currently focusing on which include resistant strains of E.coli, MSSA not reducing, patient experience of post discharge surgical site infections, catheter associated urinary tract infections and, very high on the agenda, public information. A webinar will take place soon and SURF members will be able to participate.

Olivia Freeman and Caroline Lafarge gave an update on the project relating to the patient experience of MRSA screening and a review of initial interview data. So far only 12 people had taken part, 7 were MRSA positive and 5 were negative, their experiences and opinions reflected what we hear on a regular basis from the feedback we receive from the public, although this was a very small sample taking into consideration the estimated numbers of screens that are carried every week, as demonstrated in the findings of the National One Week prevalence survey carried out last year. We are still awaiting analysis of the study, project leads are Chris Fuller and Sheldon Stone who are also on the advisory panel for our research. Maria will be following up Chris and Sheldon to find out what has happened to the data. It was clear that information on the process, the what, where, when and why screening was carried out seemed to be unclear, although there seemed to be a general acceptance that this was one of a number of necessary things to do if being treated in hospital.

Andrea Whitfield led the work with us on the preparation of a poster for the INVOLVE conference titled "Active public involvement in healthcare-associated infection research" This is based the collaborative working and findings from research on the Patient experience of MRSA Screening and the work investigating HCAI training at undergraduate level. Maria Cann will be joining Andrea in presenting a poster at the Infection Prevention Society conference in Liverpool next week. You can read the abstract here.

It's always interesting to hear about other experiences of patient / service user involvement and Karen Newbigging, University of Central Lancashire, and Stephanie de la Haye, a service user researcher, gave some case studies of examples of collaborative projects that they had been involved in. They had done a particularly interesting piece of research involving service users who had been detained under the Mental Health Act. The diversity and breadth of service users involved in commissioned research and how they recruited and involved service users brought a perspective to the research outcomes that would otherwise have been missed. Catering for people's needs who may have long-term conditions or may be unwell, cultural considerations, language etc, all were considered in their research methodology.

Alison Tingle and Andrea Whitfield gave an update on the "Education Project" findings and next steps. This is an entirely patient-led piece of research assessing the skills that are taught in Infection Prevention and Control for healthcare professionals at undergraduate level, and also includes allied professionals as well as clinical staff. The first stage of the research was a desktop analysis on what was covered in various universities' curricula. A questionnaire was devised by the Research Forum, 94 students took part. The average score for knowledge of Infection Prevention and Control was 4/10, with the highest score being 7/10. There were gaps in knowledge on glove and apron use, handwashing technique and isolation procedures. A simulated learning exercise followed, where further gaps in theory into practice were identified.

Helen Bronstein took part in the simulated event along with other SURF members. Findings will be presented at the annual Infection Prevention Society Conference next week. It is hoped that this will lead to funded research to show that there is a need for a focus on Infection Prevention and Control training, and to encourage the use of simulated training, often placements do not give the opportunity for practical experience in carrying out invasive procedures. There were clearly areas that can be improved in terms of the practical application of learning, and simulation is a good way to learn in advance of caring. We will network with others who have used this methodology at the IPS conference and encourage them to view our findings. The presentation abstract "Are they ready" can be viewed here.

All of this work involves services users such as ourselves and is also an opportunity to learn about healthcare associated infections and strategies to prevent them. If you think you would like to be involved then join SURF today.