The need to combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the key themes of this year’s IPS conference. Working with external organisations to tackle the issue is Essity, manufacturer of Tork hygiene products and services. The company’s Jenny Logenius explains the importance of reducing the risks of AMR
The words “antimicrobial resistance” have been talked about in the corridors of medical institutions for years as healthcare practitioners have become increasingly concerned about the overuse of antibiotics
But those conversations have now turned into a global cry as the issue becomes ever more pressing. It is now generally accepted that AMR is a clear and present danger to health systems and the people they serve.
Antimicrobial resistance occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites evolve so that they no longer respond to the medications traditionally used to treat them. This makes it harder to combat infections and increases the risk of outbreaks, severe illness and death.
It can also give rise to so-called “superbug” infections that are untreatable or resistant to antibiotics, antivirals, and antifungals. As a result, medications become ineffective and infections persist in the body, increasing the risk that they will be spread to others
A Lancet study1 estimated that there were an estimated 4.95 million deaths associated with bacterial AMR in 2019. Across the world’s 20 most advanced economies, around 40 per cent of the infections caused by bacteria can no longer be treated by antibiotics, according to Essity’s vice president global marketing & innovation health and medical solutions Dr. Karsten Hemmrich.
“Without measures to contain AMR, major surgeries and cancer chemotherapy will become riskier and the number of people for whom treatment will fail or who will die of infections will increase,” he said. “And the overuse and underdosing of antibiotics is giving rise to this growing problem.
Antimicrobial resistance is the theme of the Infection Prevention Society’s annual conference which is being held in Liverpool from October 17-19. Tork, an Essity brand, will be taking a stand at the event as part of our work to spread awareness about Antimicrobial Awareness and help tackle the issue of antimicrobial resistance.
Essity incorporates a number of brands that play a key part in the fight against infections. These include Leukoplast® surgical postoperative dressings with Leukomed® Sorbact® which is proven to reduce surgical site infections and Cutimed® Advanced wound care products. The Cutimed® Sorbact® range of products features a mesh that is purpose-designed to prevent and manage infection and support wound healing. Hydrophobic bacteria and fungi are attracted to the Sorbact® mesh once it has been applied to a wound and the bound pathogens are then removed with each dressing change.
Research is being carried out all the time to come up with new antimicrobial drugs capable of taking on superbugs and to better manage the use of antibiotics in healthcare settings. But it is also crucial that every care should be taken to prevent infections from taking hold in the first place
This is where hand hygiene comes in. Experts agree that good hand hygiene is the best way of curbing the spread of infections and viruses in hospitals. And hand hygiene hinges on the provision of the right products in the right places to facilitate hand sanitising, hand washing and drying.
Soap and hand towels in healthcare should be easy to use and kind to the hands since staff members will need to wash their hands frequently. For example, Tork Foam Soap comes in a Tork Sensitive version which is particularly kind to the hands, while Tork Xpress® Extra Soft Multifold Hand Towels are soft, absorbent and gentle on the skin.
The provision of a fragrance-free conditioning cream such as Tork Sensitive Moisturising Hand Cream will further help to prevent chapping and soreness when used after hand washing
Besides being skin-friendly, all hand hygiene products should be easy to use since this will facilitate the process for over-stretched healthcare workers. The dispenser for Tork Foam Soap has been designed to be particularly easy to use and each cartridge serves up to 1,650 people. This ensures a long-lasting supply and reduces the risk of the unit running out when a hand-wash is urgently needed.
Tork Alcohol Hand Sanitisers are available in dispensers for general use, as well as in smaller formats that can be clipped to a patient’s bed or issued to a medical worker for convenient access.
Hand hygiene training is crucial to ensure that healthcare teams understand the importance of hand hygiene and are clear as to when it needs to be carried out. Studies show that staff members are calling for enhanced hand hygiene instruction
A survey carried out by United Minds on behalf of Essity revealed that 80 per cent of healthcare professionals were keen to improve their hand hygiene adherence. Around 60 per cent of the 1,000-plus staff members polled said they would also like hand hygiene to be given a higher priority in their unit. And most respondents added that they found most traditional training modules uninspiring
At Essity we provide our own hand hygiene instruction module. The award-winning Tork Clean Hands Training invites users into a digital world where they are confronted with a series of scenarios in which hand hygiene needs to be carried out. Developed in collaboration with behavioural scientists and world-leading hand hygiene experts, the course aims to provide hand hygiene guidance in an engaging way
Trainees take on the role of a nurse or doctor in a hospital unit where they are tasked with caring for several patients. Their results are then assessed on how far they comply with the World Health Organization’s (WHOs) ‘my 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene’. Tork Clean Hands Training is accessible free of charge online via any electronic device and is also available in a virtual reality format.
Surface cleaning in healthcare settings is also vitally important since microorganisms can easily be spread via surfaces. Again, cleaning teams need to be taught how to effectively clean all patient areas in the most logical and hygienic way possible.
Essity’s Tork Interactive Clean Hospital Training takes staff through various real-world cleaning scenarios, incorporating modules on daily cleaning in occupied patient rooms as well as discharge cleaning protocols.
The cleaner’s knowledge of high-touched surfaces is tested and various tips and tricks are provided. Operatives are also instructed in correct cleaning procedures such as the need to work from high to low and to use different cloths for each type of task to reduce the risk of microorganism transmission.
Each step of the cleaning process is covered from picking up the debris, emptying the bins and wiping down refuse containers before moving on to other tasks.
Antimicrobial resistance is one of the greatest health challenges of our time - and one we cannot leave for our children to solve. These are not our words but those of WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Speaking to a group of global health leaders recently, he said now is the time to forge new cross-sector partnerships to protect those medications we already have and to revitalise the pipeline for new ones. We at Essity are proud to be counted among those cross-sector partners
Please visit the Tork stand 37 at IPS 2023 to find out more
Essity Professional Hygiene
Tel: + 44 (0)1582 677570
Reference 1 Global burden of bacterial antimicrobial resistance in 2019: a systematic analysis