With 35 years of NHS experience, Pat Peers – Decontamination Lead at Wirral University Teaching NHS Hospital Trust – tells all about supporting a seamless audit and taking ultrasound decontamination to the next level with Tristel Duo ULT.
Decon Lead Pat Peers started her NHS career 35 years ago in Theatres and progressed to Theatre Co-ordinator, Theatre Manager and Matron, before making the final transition to Decontamination Lead at Wirral University Teaching Hospital around six and a half years ago.
The Ultrasound Challenge
When it came to fortifying infection prevention control measures, Pat saw Wirral University Teaching Hospital’s ultrasound decontamination procedures as a key area. The hospital had clearly identified the requirement to use high-level disinfection (HLD) products for decontaminating ultrasound devices used on broken skin, as Pat explains:
“My career on the front-line gave me good knowledge on practical aspects, on instrumentation, and on decontamination. […] As soon as skin is classed as broken, it can be dangerous to not high-level disinfect an ultrasound probe.”
However, the need for practitioners to assess on the go when to apply HLD to decontamination procedures created an overly complicated process. The challenge Pat saw was simplifying this decision-making process, while keeping ultrasound decontamination procedures compliant and fast:
“When we looked at semi-automated systems and different options on the market, one of the things I suggested was that semi-automated systems wouldn’t be the cost saving that people currently profess. If it’s a device that needs high-level disinfecting, the cable and so on should be high-level disinfected too. With a lot of these automated devices the cable is outside, and you still have to use a wipe system for that. There are differing opinions on semi-automated systems; some people say it can’t possibly work, as there will always be shadowing. I think there is a place for semi-automated systems, so I’d never say never.”
Pat approached Tristel and requested to step up all ultrasound decontamination procedures to high-level disinfection with Duo ULT. Tristel Duo ULT offers high-level disinfection for all parts of an ultrasound transducer including the probe, holder, plug and cable. It complies with guidelines for disinfection within ultrasound, such as those published by BMUS, WFUMB and the Society for Maternal Fetal-Medicine.
Plus, ultrasound decontamination can become as modern and immediate as the procedure itself, as Duo ULT is fully portable. With no centralised reprocessing required, Duo ULT keeps up with rapid patient throughput whether in critical care and emergency or dedicated ultrasound treatment rooms.
Training and HLD ultrasound implementation
The Tristel team worked with Pat and Wirral University Teaching Hospital, vastly simplifying decontamination processes for the hospital teams by implementing Duo ULT. For Pat, this step-up to Duo ULT for all ultrasound procedures removes risk:
“The fact that ultrasound is covered from start to finish with Duo ULT is incredible for us. We made this decision to simplify the process, take away the need for decision and potential risk. It enables us to be more progressive in terms of what we can achieve with our ultrasound decontamination.”
What was immediately apparent to Pat when onboarding with Tristel, was the level of support, unbiased knowledge and guidance provided by her contacts in the Tristel team:
“With Tristel, I’ve got nothing but praises for the service and support we get. I know I will get an honest stance; I always get honest feedback on which products you can and can’t use on devices, and the team comes back to me really quickly. If someone doesn’t know the answer, they always check. We are offered information, rather than being pushed down one pathway. That’s the standout: it doesn’t feel like sales jargon with Tristel, it genuinely feels like proper support.”
The Tristel team visited the hospital to ensure a smooth uptake of Duo ULT across the board. They visited all departments where ultrasound probes are used; everywhere ranging from ultrasound itself to places like Lymphedema and Cardiac, Critical Care and Theatres. Face-to-face training and supporting materials for the front line were also provided, as well as lanyard cards for online training codes and product user guides. Pat said:
“Having the team on site has helped massively with the period of transition for the team. The products are easy to use and are quickly accepted by the staff on the front lines. The Tristel team were also able to offer reassurance that they could spread the word and the official training to most areas of the hospital about the decontamination change.”
External audit support: face-to-face, online, and unbiased
In addition to their Ultrasound implementation, Wirral University Teaching Hospital also use the Tristel Trio Wipes System in their ENT and Cardiology departments, as well as Tristel Duo OPH for Ophthalmology.
To ensure the Wirral University Teaching Hospital was external audit-ready, the Tristel team supported many different departments consistently with face-to-face, remote, and online portal training, as well as knowledge and educational materials. Pat had high praise for the experience:
“We couldn’t have asked for anything else. During COVID too, we’ve been supported well throughout. The moment I contacted to see if we could be supported through an audit, it was immediate; a really good fast response from Tristel. Lesley [the hospital’s main Tristel contact] has been my go-to person. She has provided me with lists of areas that are using Tristel, as well as her knowledge and skills. I’ve always found that if I have any issue or any silly question that I need to ask, she comes back to me really quickly, and if she doesn’t know the answer, she always checks. I’ve found her incredibly helpful, responsive, and reactive when I’ve made requests, so I always get the answer quickly.”
To give the maximum support to the hospital in preparation for audits, the Tristel team assessed areas throughout the hospital. They then trained the staff members on best practice decontamination and checked again by assessing that training had been effective. Pat was thankful for the comprehensive audit preparation that Tristel provided:
“For the audit it was important to get all the training completed in time. One on site training session had to be cancelled in January due to the pandemic, and so the Tristel team delivered it via Microsoft Teams instead. Tristel have a good grasp of where we have product located and they provided face-to-face training in those areas. The Tristel team sit down with us and discuss these areas and see how best to target and improve. They also update us on any changes to guidance that we need to be aware about. All of those aspects – the training, the audit support – brings it together into a good package. As a result, we had a really good external audit last September, and didn’t get any corrective actions.”
The pick of the best solutions for every decontamination need
Happy with the training, support and products provided by Tristel, The Wirral University Teaching NHS Hospital Trust continues to use Tristel Duo OPH, the Tristel Trio Wipes System and the newly implemented Tristel Duo ULT for their decontamination requirements. As Pat explains:
“For us, the choice of products is really important. With Tristel, for our instruments, we find we have something to cover everything. We know we have things as simple as we can for our decontamination protocols, and we know we can cover all bases and maintain best practice for our hospital.”