SURF hcai service users research forum 

SURF Workshop, 11th October 2011
Central London

Helen Bronstein attended her second SURF workshop in London where interview protocols for research into an education project for health undergraduates was reviewed.


Allied Health Professionals have a lot of patient contact and training in Infection Prevention and Control is vital.  SURF is undertaking the patient led education project to identify Infection Prevention training for undergraduates.  Responses to an online questionnaire were reviewed and included responses from Occupational Therapist trainers, Physiotherapist trainers and Radiographer trainers.  Nursing undergraduate training was also reviewed.


We know that anyone in health and social care will need to be able to cope with questions arising from patients' concerns about the risks of infection.  Patients and carers will ask for advice, and there will be contact outside of the hospital setting with Allied Health Professionals, such as Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapist where healthcare associated infections are proportionally higher (68% of HCAIs are outside of the acute setting, analysing Health Protection Agency data for the last 13 months).  These professionals are in a position to spot signs of an infection in vulnerable clients and signpost immediately to appropriate care.  There is potential to spread infection if they do not follow Infection Prevention and Control guidelines when visiting at home.


Diagnostic radiotherapists' attention to Infection Prevention and Control is hugely important to patients.  These professionals need to know about decontamination, cleaning surfaces, beds, chairs, equipment between patient use.  They will have contact with patients with medical devices insitu, and can flag up if there's a problem, they may get asked for advice whilst making an assessment.  It's all relevant.


We believe the questionnaire and research findings showed that more 'hands on' simulation is needed. It was good to see that those who responded recognised the need to strengthen aspects of the curricula.  We would like to see more emphasis on antibiotic resistant pathogens; in our view this should be ongoing, as the evolution of the resistant pathogens are forever evolving.  Making sure the right antibiotic is used is vital, to ensure resistance doesn't take hold.


We were disappointed to see little service user involvement in the curricula, although this is something that we as a charity are beginning to make inroads in, with the healthcare trusts and universities that we work with. 


It was very worrying that skills assessed in the curricula for nursing on aseptic and invasive procedure were not assessed in a lot of areas.  From a patient perspective, this is fundamental.  We would expect competence to be demonstrated for nursing staff before they are allowed to treat patients.


There were areas which may be regarded as not relevant for physiotherapists depending on the client group they are treating. Whilst the curricula itself doesn't expect a physiotherapist to be competent in inserting invasive devices in normal circumstances, we would expect a knowledge of what the risks are for the client, as physiotherapists would be giving therapy to clients who are vulnerable with invasive devices insitu.  What would happen if a client who is dependent on the physiotherapist outside of the clinical setting, for example at home, where an invasive device becomes displaced during therapy?  We believe there may be a case for training in these areas, as stated, it depends on the client group.


The initial research was a very worthwhile exercise.  Further interviews and research will be carried out to assess how we can gather evidence and gain support for improving the training in Infection Prevention and Control, and the protocols will be developed from the day's activities.


An update on MRSA Screening research and a Hand Hygiene research trial was given at the event and will be ongoing over the next few months.


If you or someone you care about has been affected by a healthcare infection and you wish to discuss this with us, please contact us at