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Infection Control and Communicable Disease Prevention in the Special School Nurseries and Childcare settings by Helen Friend

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Following a summer outbreak of viral gastroenteritis in a special school setting in West Yorkshire, which was particularly long running in nature, a request was received from a school cluster of 8 special schools within the West Yorkshire area as to whether we could offer the cluster any training around infectious diseases.

A half-day session was developed for the school cluster aimed at enabling them to develop their knowledge of childhood communicable disease and the manage outbreaks of infections within the special school setting. The session covered:

  • Common infectious diseases in children – an overview of some of the common childhood infections that we regularly see.
  • Basic infection control principles to remember in schools -this section covered the importance of breaking the chain of infection through handwashing/ environmental cleaning.
  • Outbreaks and their Management – a ‘table top’ session mainly focussed on gastrointestinal outbreaks: How do you know when you’ve got one/ what to do when one happens?
  • Sharing information – the importance of sharing information, including information around who to share information with, what information is useful to share and when to share it.

In total 20 school representatives attended the half-day session and the feedback from the training highlighted the session as being: ‘Very informative’; ‘Brilliant training!! All staff in all special schools need this training’; ‘It was so good, it is very useful and I have learned so much today’.

Health protection practitioners, LA infection control specialists and members of the school nursing special needs team all participated in the running of the half-day event. This was a great opportunity for health professionals across the health economy to work together in providing essential training to those who manage some of the most vulnerable children who attend the school setting.

Helen Friend, West Yorkshire Health Protection Team,  PHE Yorkshire & the Humber


November 2016

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