Sunday 17 December 2017

Spike in hospital superbug linked to dirty equipment shared by patients

Poor cleaning of shared equipment caused a spike in cases of a superbug in a major hospital (stock photo)
Poor cleaning of shared equipment caused a spike in cases of a superbug in a major hospital (stock photo)
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Poor cleaning of equipment shared by patients contributed to a spike in cases of the superbug C difficile in a major hospital, an inspector's report has revealed.

There was an urgent need for Tallaght Hospital in Dublin to make a business case to purchase more individual equipment for patients, the report by the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) warned.

The inspection in September found brown staining under the surfaces of commodes which can be important in passing on the bug between patients.

The inspectors recommended an immediate deep clean of the William Stokes Unit, a ward with several beds.

Surfaces, finishes and flooring in the theatre department were damaged and poorly maintained "and as such did not facilitate effective cleaning," it added.

The department had only one toilet for patients and it was only accessible via a dirty utility room, giving unauthorised access to hazardous cleaning agents and materials.

Inspectors also found fault with the standards of hand washing at the hospital.

They also said medications given intravenously should be prepared in a clean environment as administered immediately where possible.

A separate inspection by Hiqa of Tullamore Hospital in May also raised concerns about C Difficile. There was an outbreak in the first quarter of 2014 and the end of 2015.

Inspectors said standards of hand washing were below par.

Overall use of antibiotics had increased significantly since 2011 and the hospital was aware of this.

There was no senior manager in charge of environmental hygiene at the time of inspection.

There were also problems with monitoring of infection in patients who had surgery.

An increase in MRSA bloodstream infection was also found in documentation given to the inspectors and one of the reasons was poor compliance with standards of care of patients who has some tubes inserted.

A spokeswoman for the hospital said yesterday that the incidence of C difficile was not as a result of it being passed on by patients and there was a fall in cases since last April.

"A number of measures have been introduced to increase compliance and reduce the incidence of MRSA bloodstream infection rates. To date in 2015, there have been no incidences of MRSA bloodstream infection at the hospital.

"A compliance score of 90pc had been achieved in hand hygiene by the hospital during a national hand hygiene audit in October 2015."

Irish Independent

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