Nancy Peddle is an infection control professional with St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton. She has experience in addressing IPAC issues in many areas, including opthamology. We recently interviewed Nancy about her work with eye clinic manager Tammy Robinson and their IPAC team’s experience in addressing the issue of tonometer use.
What motivated you to make a change?
Back in 2009, our chief ophthalmologist was concerned about how we were managing patients with viral conjunctivitis in the eye clinic and encouraged us to look at developing a standard protocol. The manager of the eye clinic along with IPAC did a lot of research as well as consulted with other facilities with eye clinics to ask them what infection prevention and control measures they had implemented to manage patients with viral conjunctivitis. We developed a “Red Eye Protocol” which incorporated the following:
A Red Eye reporting form (completed for all cases of viral conjunctivitis and faxed to IPAC Dept.)
A dedicated exam room to see all patients with a Red Eye
An enhanced cleaning protocol (exam room is cleaned as soon as patient leaves the clinic)
Since then we have implemented disposable single-use tonometer prisms, added signage at our registration desk to ask patients to report if they have a Red Eye, added only single-use eye drops in our Red Eye exam room, de-cluttered eye exam rooms and tightened up on routine cleaning procedures for all patient eye equipment.
How difficult was it to convince staff to make the change?
It was not difficult to convince staff, they adopted the protocol readily.
What benefits have you seen as a result of this change in practice?
Eye Clinic staff have acquired a lot of knowledge about “Red Eye” and all of the important steps to reduce the risk of transmission within the clinic. We have seen a reduction of transmission to the point where there have been zero cases of viral conjunctivitis attributed to a clinic visit.
What are your next steps for continuing IPAC quality improvements?
For the eye clinic, we need to continually reinforce the measures that make up our Red Eye Protocol and involve all members of the team within the clinic.
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