How important is hand and surface hygiene promotion for adults?

October 15, 2020 / By admin / No Comments

Patricia Neeson, Mary Wade’s Infection Control Specialist

How important is hand and surface hygiene promotion for adults? When was the last time you were told to wash your hands before eating, leaving your office area, or conference room? It’s often difficult to see the implications of our daily decisions but the real impact of not using procedures and protocols to stop the spread of infectious diseases impacts not just ourselves but an entire community.

Patricia Neeson BSN, is Mary Wade’s Staff Development & Infection Preventionist. Patty has been in various facets of the nursing industry for over 30 years. She has been in acute care, long term care, long-term post-acute care, wound care and a travel nurse.

Patty reflects on being a travel nurse “The experience broadened my horizons tremendously. Seeing as much as I did during those years, I found my true niche in the industry: Infection Control, Wound Care and Staff Development.”

Patty believes staff education is very important and is driven by the culture and the strong reputation Mary Wade holds in the community. Staff are encouraged to further their education, expand their career focus and learn on the spot.

Patty truly enjoys education and staff development.

” It is very satisfying when I can explain a process or procedure, and the student orstaff understand and get the concept.  I call it the ‘lightbulb effect’ You can almost see the light bulb go on in the brain when they get it.”

Her education went into high gear as the Covid-19 virus beat on the doors of the senior healthcare industry. Patty found herself on the floors educating the staff every day, keeping abreast of the newest information. Patty witnessed the staff embrace these changes and knew that this professional team was committed to being the best.

“There are so many rules, it could have gotten confusing very fast. Staff is great.  If they see something that is not 100%, they will approach one another and fix it. They do not wait for supervisors to say something,” said Neeson.  

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has been a critical component to containment of the Covid-19 virus. Patty holds monthly training sessions on the use of PPE, as well as on the spot lessons for all staff over three shifts. There are multiple steps in this process.  There is a very direct way of handling PPE. Every little step counts when putting on or taking off (referred to as “donning and doffing”).

Neeson reflects with a proud smile.

“I feel like I give it my all and am always available to answer any question. The staff take it upon themselves to pass on my training and provide guidance to each other. They truly appreciate my diligence and have nicknamed me The Sargent.”

Since April, Mary Wade has had (8) eight deficiency-free inspections from CT Department of Health Infection Control.

“Our staff are the best in the industry and they understand the importance of proper procedures,” says Stan DeCosta, Mary Wade’s Executive Director.  “Patty is the real driver in staff education and training.  She lives and breathes it and the staff recognize that.  Especially in the last few months when protocol and guidance was changing on an almost daily basis.  They have all done an outstanding job during a challenging time.   I am grateful to her and the entire team.”

Patty has been invited to be a faculty member on the Project ECHO Covid-19 panel. Project ECHO is a world-wide organization that connects specialists with on-the-ground practitioners to bridge health gaps and provide high-quality specialty care. Neeson is representing the nursing education and infection prevention sector in the panel along with (5) five other healthcare professionals. These professionals are representing Connecticut’s 30 long- term care facilities. The goal of the project is to determine best practices that will become the standard of senior healthcare.

“I am honored to serve on this panel and take a hard look at what worked, what didn’t work and what was tried in the senior healthcare battle against Covid-19.  The ECHO Project will only strengthen Mary Wade’s ability to handle what is next in Covid-19”, Neeson stated.

Patricia Neeson is one of the many individuals who play an important part in advancing Mary Wade’s mission into the next century. 


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