New scheme to protect vulnerable residents from Norovirus scoops national award

The Check and Protect scheme has dramatically cut hospital admissions caused by Norovirus and other infections among residents of care homes since it was introduced by Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Groups.

Now the scheme has been chosen as runner-up out of over 700 submissions to the Nursing Standard Nurse Awards for 2015.

Check to Protect has been led by Tanya Kidson, Infection Prevention and Control Lead Nurse for the two CCGs, along with her colleague Jill Hassall.

Tanya and her team have worked with nurses employed by care homes across the area to develop training and assessment tools to help tackle infections that can often leave elderly and frail people needing hospital treatment.

Tanya said: “We have worked with groups of nurses from across the independent sector to help reduce infection-related admissions that can put a major strain on our hospital services.

“We have helped reduce the attack rate and length of diarrhoea and vomiting outbreaks as a result of norovirus. A review of all diarrhoea and vomiting outbreaks reported to date in 2014/15 has found the majority of outbreaks have been contained within a period of eight days compared to 15 in previous years.

“It has also been attributed to helping reduce hospital admissions when norovirus has been circulating in the community. To date in 2014/15 no residents from care homes have been admitted to hospital due to diarrhoea and vomiting, dehydration or associated urinary tract infections.”

Assessment tools will continue to be reviewed and updated in line with clinical evidence. New tools will continue to be developed in response to requests from services and as more care is delivered in the community and by primary care services.

Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s Lead Nurse Linda Izquierdo said: “It is vitally important staff in care homes practice infection prevention and control procedures to the highest standard.

“Check to Protect has taken a partnership approach to clinical and care processes to improve cleanliness and safety for patients in the independent sector. Early signs are highly promising, and are a great credit to Tanya and the team’s hard work and enthusiasm.”

Dr Mike Innes, Chair of Telford and Wrekin CCG and a Stirchley GP said: “In so many ways independent sector homes are at the front line of healthcare. Partnerships like this, with the independent sector and NHS working closely together can be massively mutually beneficial.

“The most important thing is that it protects some of our most vulnerable patients, and I am delighted this teamwork has been recognised on the national stage.”