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Taking care of our healing hands
18 November 2015
Willows is one of the longest established and one of the best known Specialist level referral practices in the UK. Our Specialist vets are amongst some of the world’s most experienced and respected in their fields. We are totally committed to providing the highest levels of patient and client care. Our state-of-the-art diagnostic, surgical and hospitalisation facilities are some of the best in small animal practice across Europe and are supported by the quality, training and dedication of our veterinary support staff teams.
Studies have shown that amongst veterinary surgeons across American and European Specialist hospitals, only 7% follow the current World Health Organisation guidelines for hand asepsis (1).
We were recently visited by Birgitt Rimell, clinical nurse specialist/infection control of H&R Healthcare to provide surgical hand disinfection training for vets, nurses and clinical support staff, using an alcohol-based product called Sterillium® which was originally produced for the human field, but is now used in the veterinary sector.
The aims of hand disinfection is to eliminate micro-organisms from the hands prior to surgical procedures and between examining patients. Although sterile surgical gloves are worn for all surgical procedures, occasionally they can be subject to perforation, so it is of the utmost importance that the product used for hand disinfection has removed harmful micro-organisms and remains active for the period of surgery. It is also vital that the correct technique is used to apply any disinfecting product to ensure the entire surface of the hands are covered.
The product demonstrated by Birgitt is kind to the skin, which is crucial for surgeons who perform several surgeries throughout the day as their hands are pre-disposed to getting sore from using the traditional scrubbing techniques. Once the skin surface is affected, it is more vulnerable to colonisation (spreading) by infectious agents and susceptible to allergies, therefore it is important to allow skin to stay ‘fairy soft’ and maintain a barrier to the micro-organisms.
Willows is passionate about continual professional development and is committed to meeting standards stated by the World Health Organisation and this is achieved by continuous training for our staff members.
You can be assured that when visiting Willows, we are dedicated to delivering the very best care to you and your pets.
Willows' nurses taking part in the training session
Birgett demonstrating correct hand hygiene techniques using Sterilum®
As part of the training programme individual training is provided using a fluorescent hand rub which will show any areas that have not been covered with the Sterilium® rub
Hands placed under a UV light, the fluorescent areas show where the rub has been distributed and the dark areas highlighted by the arrows highlight the areas that have been missed
Arrows pointing to areas that are often missed and to highlight to staff areas that must be covered by the alcohol solution at all times
Training and information included with thanks and kind permission of Bode-Science-Centre.
(1) Verwilghen, D., Grulke, S. and Kampf, G. (2011), Presurgical Hand Antisepsis: Concepts and Current Habits of Veterinary Surgeons. Veterinary Surgery, 40: 515–521. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-950X.2011.00846.x