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Leading the way on infection control

Leading the way on infection control

Wellington Regional Hospital is leading the way in using an anti-staph bundle to help prevent staph infections among cardiac surgery patients.

Caused by bacteria found on skin or in the nose, staph infections are a common risk following surgery. Prevention is through ‘bundle’ or package of care that includes a body wipe and an antibiotic cream applied in the nose.

“We’re the first DHB in the country to replace the antibiotic ointment with an antiseptic nasal swab,” said infection prevention & control clinical nurse specialist Karen Corban.

“The swabs contain iodine, a natural antiseptic effective at removing the bacteria for about 12 hours. We save the antibiotic for when it’s needed for an infection and to reduce the risk of patients becoming resistant to the antibiotic ointment.”

The swabs also reduce the need for some laboratory tests and – at 80 cents each – are significantly cheaper than the antibiotic ointment, which costs $50 per tube.

“All this allows us to save around $100 per patient – meaning this project has enabled us to achieve savings of more than $25,000 so far this year.

“The bundle will soon be used for orthopaedic and spinal surgeries, and cardiac medical device implant – such as pacemakers – patients. Other DHBs are also interested, and may soon follow in our footsteps.”

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