Health bosses target infection in care homes

Scrupulous hand hygiene is invaluable for staff running care homes for the elderly in West Sussex, as well as those who live there.

That’s the message from a team of inspectors from a health watchdog who visited 17 care homes across the county, including three in Chichester.

The team from West Sussex LINk, a group dedicated to improving health and social care services, has now reported its findings after getting a behind-the-scenes look at infection control in nursing homes at the end of last year.

Devonia care home in Southbourne, Pinewood Nursing Home in Chichester (which has a three-start rating from the Care Quality Commission) and Beggars Roost Nursing Home in Fishbourne (which has one star from the CQC) were all visited by the inspectors.

Although the report didn’t comment on specific residential homes, the findings - which apply to all those checked - included:

* Infection control manuals should be easily accessible

* Door handles and handrails are ‘hotspots’ for infection transmission

* Bathrooms and sluice rooms are not storage rooms

* Outside waste bins should not be close to kitchens

* The practice of staff wearing uniforms to and from home should be looked at.

“LINk would also wish to remind care homes about the importance of hand hygiene and the availability of gels or wipes for residents prior to meals,” said Tony Reynolds, who compiled LINk’s report.

“Similarly isolation of affected residents is an important issue if an outbreak of infectious disease does occur.”