Infection prevention – Staying ahead of the game!

In light of the Ebola outbreak that has taken the world by storm, medical experts from around the globe have had to prioritize infection control measures in healthcare facilities. While no cases have yet been identified in Canada, National Infection Control Week reminds us how important it is to prevent the spread of germs that lead to illness.  

“It all comes down to good habits,” says Dr. Charles Frenette, medical director of Infection Control at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC). “We do not lack the information or the resources, but we must apply everything we know and make it part of our lifestyle.” 

In fact, hand hygiene, proper environment cleaning and disinfection are all key elements for prevention. Here at MUHC, we have a team of nine designated infection prevention nurses who work across our sites in order to help minimize the risks. 

“Our nurses respectively work with three to four units to perform hand hygiene audits, document our infection cases, and make recommendations that help us improve our practices,” says Frenette. “If we apply all the measures to prevent transmission with our current pathogens such as VRE, MRSA and C.difficle, we should be able to contain the spread of Ebola as well.''

Imma Franco, associate director of Planning and Redevelopment, explains how the MUHC identified the latest infection-control benchmark standards in order to incorporate them into the design of the new Glen site. 

“One of the main characteristics of the Glen is that it will be completely hepafiltered, which means that the quality of air that circulates in the environment will be filtered at a very high level,” says Franco. “In Quebec, this system is usually used in very high-risk areas, but the MUHC will be the first one to implement it across one of its sites.” 

While a hepafiltration system will help reduce the amount of respiratory infections, the design of single-patient rooms with private bathrooms and hand-washing sinks, will also contribute to the reduction of cross-contamination. 

 “We will have a brand new medical device reprocessing sector to ensure proper decontamination of all our instruments, as well as fifty-eight elevators where patients will not circulate in the same area as our equipment,” says Franco. 

As one of Canada’s only complex care medical institutions, the MUHC will keep providing preventive care to all of its patients while focusing on the important aspects of infection control.