The Infection Prevention & Control Champions Network and Me
28 October 2022 | Dee Copley, Care Home Nurse
I began work in a beautiful local care home directly before the national lockdown. After almost 20 years in the NHS, I was looking for a chance to do something different. It certainly was different. Necessity drove our response and surrounded by a strong, compassionate and skilled team I quickly found my feet, drawing on skills I’d forgotten I had.
Face-to-face contact and training were missing in the fast-moving situation, but the Infection Prevention & Control (IPC) Champions Network being launched by the QNI, with funding from Deborah Sturdy’s office at the Department of Health and Social Care, looked like it could help to fill a gap.
In November 2021, I sat at my computer screen feeling out of my depth. I thought I’d be okay in the presentation towards the end of the event about IPC Workbooks as Harrogate had been my home hospital until recently. We already used their fantastic Infection Prevention Workbook for Care homes. But actually, I felt at home long before then. The speakers at the event were so well chosen, presenting with genuine passion about their areas of interest. When the interactive session began and I was pretty sure I’d be found lacking. But Charlotte Fry uses Menti – an anonymised tool that allows us to share our feelings and knowledge gaps without blushes. It’s now one on my favorite parts of the sessions. These days there is lots of activity in the chat. People with more knowledge on a subject share links and ideas alongside the speakers, who always seem happy to take questions in real time creating a sense of genuine engagement.
I still have so much to learn, but the QNI's Infection Prevention and Control network has set me on a new and open road. It helps me to fill gaps in the short term, with a realistic expectation on resources.
Back in March of this year I started considering how we could reduce the impact of illness on our residents. As we know, once you’ve done all you can to prevent illness, spotting deterioration early is the key to obtaining the best outcomes. I was about to look for tools to use but as it turned out I didn’t need to. RESTORE2 was perfectly placed following a brilliant presentation by Lisa Hodgkinson on Frailty and Infection. It all fell into alignment for me.
We are currently working on RESTORE2, but like so many care settings, staffing considerations and agency usage has become part of the picture. RESTORE2 emphasised how important it is to know your resident – spotting ‘soft signs’ is so much easier when you understand their usual presentation. Equally, it’s hard to take time away from the floor without compromising operations at exactly the time when staff need continued training to maximise their skill sets safe, efficient working and avoid feelings of lack of investment and development.
Our first team members have begun training and RESTORE2 was the second topic to adorn the boards and desktops of the new Training Room. (Hand Hygiene and PPE was always going to be the first!). The Infection Prevention Nurse has helped me to prioritise and use the time available for developing positive engagements more efficiently. It has funneled ideas and resources – too many sometimes – I want to introduce iHydrate and form better links and take to opportunities for networking. But in times when things can feel shaky, there is an unpressured optimism there. There is an invitation to dip into concepts which maybe new to you, or not but if you haven’t dropped into a meeting, it’s time well spent.
Dee Copley, Care Home Nurse