Learning zone practice profile are immobile post-operatively, they are encouraged to do deep breathing and coughing exercises. Many healthcare-associated infections can be prevented. Adherence to infection control protocols is paramount, for example effective hand hygiene. Prompted by reading the article, I accessed and re-familiarised myself with the local infection control protocol. Recently, all alcohol gel dispensers have been removed from the sinks to encourage the multidisciplinary team to use soap and water more frequently.

Infection control

Respiratory infections Reading a learning zone article enhanced Lisa Scott’s knowledge of healthcare-associated infections On the bone infection unit where I work, I have experience of caring for acutely ill patients as well as those who have undergone major surgery. Most of these patients are at increased risk of developing healthcare-associated respiratory tract infections. It was beneficial to revisit the structure and function of the respiratory system and I also read through my anatomy and physiology books to refresh my knowledge. This is essential to understand the risks associated with prolonged anaesthesia and periods of immobility related to major surgery. Timeout activity 2 was useful to check my understanding of various terms associated with healthcare-associated respiratory tract infection. Most lower respiratory tract infections are caused by Staphylococcus aureus. The article also lists other bacteria that commonly cause infections.

It is important to note that being prescribed antibiotics increases the risk of developing a lower respiratory tract infection because these drugs suppress the normal flora of the oropharynx, which is replaced with Gram-negative bacteria. This is particularly relevant to my practice area because the majority of patients are receiving long-term intravenous antibiotic therapy. The interventions listed in the article are used in my practice area to reduce the risk of infection. For example, while patients

This practice profile is based on NS681 Gould D (2013) Healthcareassociated respiratory tract infection. Nursing Standard. 27, 25, 50-56.

Cleaning and disinfecting equipment between patients is vital. Washing and drying nebulisers every time they are used is something I was unaware of and had not witnessed in practice. In addition, I have learned that the mouthpiece should be changed every 24 hours. I will inform staff on the unit of this recommendation. It is important that infection control guidelines are followed strictly by all members of the multidisciplinary team and that staff are challenged if they do not adhere to guidelines. With an increased understanding of the risks and methods of preventing lower respiratory tract infections, the incidence of this potentially fatal infection may be reduced NS Lisa Scott is a staff nurse, bone infection unit, Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, Oxford

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Respiratory infections.

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