Teesside district nurses create innovative infection prevention and control solution for community care staff to be used across England

District nurses at a health Trust in Teesside have helped launch an innovative infection prevention and control (IPC) solution for community care staff, which is helping save key frontline healthcare workers the equivalent time of visiting 240 patients each year.

District nurses holding the special community kitbags they use on patient visits.The district nursing team at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust has worked with experts across the organisation to develop an IPC compliant kit bag system, the Community Kit Bag, which saves community care teams both time and money as they provide essential healthcare services.

The Community Kit Bag is the result of the collaboration between frontline NHS district nurses, infection control teams, occupational health and design specialists. It is brought to market by the innovations team at NTH Solutions, a subsidiary company of the Trust.

A recent study carried out by district nurses at a North East-based NHS Trust found that, by using the bag, each nurse saved 72 hours in back to base trips and 32 hours on back to boot trips per annum.

Many community care staff rely on their own rucksacks or even a ‘bag for life’, this is the first kit bag designed within the NHS specifically to combat these challenges faced by the healthcare sector and is already in use by hundreds of NHS employees across the country, as they continue to deal with the overwhelming demand for healthcare services.

Designed with infection control in mind, the kit bag is made from fully wipeable antimicrobial material, which has provided community care staff with added peace of mind during the Covid-19 pandemic. The bag also doubles up as a sterile treatment field in the event that there is no suitable place to treat the patient.

The system comprises of six individual bags to keep staff organised and to encourage lean working: four transparent, colour coded insert bags each contain different types of kit, a black boot bag remains in the car boot and compactly stores all insert bags when not in use, and the main blue mobile bag is used to transport the required insert bags, along with the employee’s laptop or tablet, into patients’ houses.

As the bag enables community care staff to easily transport all required kit to each patient visit, organisations can expect to see significant cost savings due to improved stock control and less back to boot/back to site visits. According to NTH Solutions’ study with 100 district nurses, organisations are predicted to save £2,286 per employee each year by using the Community Kit Bag.

In addition to its infection control and organisation qualities, the Community Kit Bag can also adopt a bespoke design to meet the requirements of each community care department. For example, compartments in the insert bags can be adapted to specifically store sharps and the system can be fully branded for each Trust, meaning staff can easily be identified when visiting patients’ houses.

Moraig Orpen, practice development lead and district nurse at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our district nursing team have experienced many benefits since we introduced the Community Kit Bag. Not only is the bag compliant with infection control, but patients feel confident that nurses know what they are doing because they have got everything in one place.

“I think the district nurses and the community staff nurses who use the bag feel a sense of pride when using it, and that it’s got our own logo on, as we are proud of the organisation that we work for.”

Tony Wilson, Innovations Manager at NTH Solutions, said: “The pandemic has shown that our healthcare workers are some of the best placed people to innovate their own best practices. We need to be listening and enabling the transformation of their ideas of into a reality that can help enhance frontline patient care.

“Since its initial creation in 2013, the Community Kit Bag has gone through a thorough development process and has been trialled by district nurses across the country. We’re now confident we have a product that can enhance the way of working for community care staff in a number of professions and I am looking forward to helping develop more healthcare innovations in the future.”

If you would like to find out more about the Community Kit Bag, please visit http://www.nthsolutions.co.uk/services/community-kit-bag

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