Hospital infections are reported in human and veterinary medicine worldwide and can have serious consequences for the patient. Within a veterinary hospital, they can be introduced and spread by patients, hospital staff and pet owners. The Centre for Small Animal Studies (CSAS) at the Animal Health Trust strives to reduce infections and provide a clean and safe environment in which to care for patients, who may be particularly vulnerable to infections because of illness, surgery or medication.
A dedicated Infection Control Committee operates within CSAS, with the aim of monitoring infection and hygiene levels and ensuring compliance with the most up-to-date recommendations extrapolated from the NHS, World Health Organisation (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
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Each year, hundreds of millions of human patients around the world are affected by health care-associated infections (HCAIs). Systematic reviews of the literature have been conducted which identify the scale of the global problem. HCAIs result in increased morbidity, mortality and expense. Similar concerns exist in veterinary medicine and authors conclude that the most important factor in HCAI infections is improving the hygiene practices of health care providers. Around 16% of dogs and 12% of cats have been reported to experience a HCAI during hospitalisation, with commonly reported complications involving urinary catheters, intravenous cannulae and surgical sites.
We have the opportunity to learn from the experiences of the human medical profession and can take steps to prevent the escalation of HCAI and their impact on our patients CSAS strives to instigate a multi-faceted approach to hand hygiene within the hospital and operates a comprehensive hand hygiene policy. SOP 003 CSAS Hand Hygiene Policy
CSAS operates a Standard Infection Control Precautions (SICP) programme regarding uniforms, personal protective equipment and barrier nursing, which is designed to prevent cross transmission from recognised and unrecognised sources of infection. SICPs are necessary to ensure the safety of patients and clients as well as staff and visitors. Our barrier nursing flow chart is available to view here.
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Antibiotics form an essential part of treatment for many veterinary patients seen at the Animal Health Trust. However, the ever increasing evolution of resistant bacteria poses a significant risk to human and animal health and responsible antibiotic usage is imperative to reduce this risk. The Centre for Small Animal Studies (CSAS) at the Animal Health Trust operates an hospital-wide antibiotic stewardship policy, using information proposed by the World Health Organisation and the National Health Service. This evolving and evidence based document encourages appropriate antibiotic prescription in concordance with the cascade.
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