A local Clinical Commissioning Group has developed a helpful new tool to help prevent and manage norovirus outbreaks that can be used by any care service to guide good practice. The tool, published by West Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group, uses the QUIC mnemonic to remind staff of the need to: Question, Understand, Isolate, and Clean.
With 600,000 to 1 million people contracting norovirus each year, the virus is the most frequently encountered gastro-intestinal bug in the UK and can affect people of any age causing severe diarrhoea and vomiting. Older people, particularly those who may have other underlying health problems. can become seriously ill as a result of contracting the virus and are often dependent on the measures taken by others to protect them.
Read on to learn about how taking the QUIC approach to infection control can protect your service users this winter.
Norovirus is highly contagious and is rapidly transmitted by contact with contaminated surfaces, consumption of contaminated food or water or from other people with active symptoms. The speed at which the virus can spread in social care settings means that every staff member should know their role should an outbreak strike. The QUIC tool can help to provide a simple and memorable method of reminding your team of their responsibilities.
4 QUIC Steps to Prevent and Manage Norovirus this Winter
- Question – who, what, why and where?
- Make sure staff are aware of the signs and symptoms of infection.
- Implement immediate case finding in all residents – monitor for nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea.
- Carefully monitor food preparation and handling, especially where staff have dual care/food preparation roles.
- Understand – causation, populations, spread, prevalence:
- Make sure staff know how the infection spreads and what precautions to take.
- Start preventative actions before the infection becomes prevalent in your area.
- Ensure all staff are practising good hand hygiene and have gloves/aprons available.
- Isolate – segregate symptomatic residents:
- Consider communal areas which may contribute to transmission.
- As far as possible keep symptomatic residents isolated or in one area.
- Make sure that staff avoid going between symptomatic and non-symptomatic individuals.
- Consider restricting gatherings e.g. meal times until you have control of the situation.
- Clean – be smart, focus on touch points, clean frequently:
- Prioritise door handles, taps, gel dispensers, chair arms, hand rails, etc.
- Use a chlorine agent at least twice a day for cleaning hard surfaces.