press release
Published: 08 April 2019

Infection control in nursing homes across the world to be investigated

By Natasha Meredith

Dr Nicola Carey from the School of Health Sciences at the University of Surrey has been awarded a Florence Nightingale Foundation Travel Scholarship, sponsored by the RCN Foundation, to investigate how infections in nursing homes are tackled across the world.

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This prestigious award will enable Dr Carey to travel to three continents to learn more about healthcare systems in other countries and how they detect and manage infections in vulnerable residents in nursing homes.  

During this unique project Dr Carey will visit nursing homes in the United States, the Netherlands and Australia and will job-shadow practitioners working in a variety of settings to learn more about their policies and practices in detecting infections.  She will also meet with key members of staff and teams who are leading innovative approaches to research in this area and developing new models of care.

Evidence shows that nursing home residents are at increased risk of infection, often resulting in unplanned hospital admissions and clinical complications. It is estimated that unplanned hospital admissions cost the NHS £11 billion and account for more than a third of all admissions each year.

This project is an important first step in understanding factors related to successful adoption, implementation and maintenance of methods of identifying infections in other health systems.

Dr Nicola Carey, Reader in Long Term Conditions at the University of Surrey, said: “ Improving the early detection of infection in nursing homes in the UK is a major concern as not only does it impact the health of residents, it removes an enormous burden on an already overstretched NHS. To ameliorate the situation in the UK we need to look to other countries and learn from their best practices, and I look forward to doing this.”

Professor Melaine Coward, Head of School of Health Sciences at the University of Surrey, said: “I am delighted that Nicola has been awarded this scholarship that provides an exciting opportunity to improve the way infection is detected and managed in nursing homes. This is a necessity, given our changing population with its complex health and social care needs.”

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