Infection control warriors involved in planning

Posted 14 Oct 2016
Infection Control project user group (PUG) representative, Jo Tallon (left), and Rachel Paton (right)


Briefing the Clinical Excellence Commission, contributing to Ebola prevention strategies and providing input into the planning process for the Westmead Redevelopment, are all part of a ’normal’ work week for infection prevention expert, Jo Tallon.


Jo is a member of several Westmead Redevelopment project user groups (PUGs) that are providing input into the planning and design process of the new central acute services building. Jo sits on PUGs focussed on the new inpatient units, operating suites, Central Sterilising Service Department (CSSD) and intensive care.

Jo said, “Infection control is a fascinating and exciting part of the health sector to work in. Our goal is to reduce the potential transmission of infectious diseases to and between our patients, carers, families, visitors and our staff.”

“Throughout my career I’ve been involved in a number of exciting pieces of work including Ebola prevention and contingency planning. Many people would not know that Westmead is the NSW designated hospital if an outbreak was to occur. A number of our clinicians travelled to West Africa during the 2014 Ebola outbreak.”

“Our contribution to the Westmead Redevelopment planning process has included input in the current Schematic Design phase. We are about to enter the Detailed Design phase, where we start to see detailed floor plans and room layouts.”

“This year we been giving advice on the size and layout of inpatient units including patient rooms, bathrooms and overall planning of the units. When we look at plans we are thinking about where hand basins, equipment, handrails and doors should be. Our PUGs have considered how our clinicians, staff, patients and visitors move around, and how all these groups interact.”

“The selection of materials for furniture, doors, bathroom materials, floor coverings, and even the type of paint we choose, are guided by infection control procedures and considerations.”

“If you visit new hospitals you will notice that patient and visitor furniture is often shaped out of colourful moulded plastics. As well as looking modern they are much easier to clean, therefore minimising the risk of cross infection to our patients, staff and the wider community.”

Infection control specialists at Westmead, like Jo, continue to provide feedback into the Westmead Redevelopment planning process. They ensure that new, renovated and existing spaces meet infection control standards while always looking for opportunities to fine-tune best practices.

Featured photo: Jo and Rachel show us some of their infection control kit used for staff training an demonstrations.

Jo's infection control tips

  1. Practice good ‘hand hygiene’. Info for the public - Hand Hygiene Australia. WSLD staff - WSLHD intranet (click on ‘Services’).
  2. Don’t come to hospital to visit or accompany anyone if you are unwell. There are lots of people with compromised immune systems in a hospital. If you absolutely must come in (e.g. you are a carer or transporting a patient) seek advice before coming in if possible. If you must come in, practice hand hygiene and immediately identify yourself to staff and seek their advice.
  3. Head to the NSW Health website. The media release page includes infectious disease alerts. An A-Z page includes links to information and a separate A-Z page of fact sheets.
  4. If in doubt, ask questions. If you have concerns about you or your loved one, please ask staff. No question is silly!

Infection Control Awareness Week 2016 at Westmead

You're invited to 25th Annual International Infection Control Awareness Week 2016: “Breaking the Chain of Infection”

Westmead Events:

  • Tuesday 18 October - Westmead Education and Conference Centre (WECC), Westmead Hospital, 10am-2pm
  • Wednesday 19 October - Westmead Hospital foyer, 10am-2pm

Activities include: Free talks and information, giveaways, competitions and announcement of the staff poster competition.

Infection Awareness Week event photos 2016 - Westmead Hospital

Below are a selection of photos from the event booth in the foyer of Westmead Hospital on 19 October. Staff members asked members of the public to vote for their favourite infection prevention themed poster, for the staff poster competition. A selection of imaginative cupcake and goodies were for sale, include fake petrie dish samples.

Thanks to everyone that visited the booth.

A big shout out to the Infection Prevention team, who organised and staff the booth. Members of the team who posted for photos were Jennifer Sealy, Jo Tallon, Kathy O'Donnell, Kathy Dempsey, Rachel Paton and Nicole Tolhurst (see their group photo in the picture gallery below).

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