Practice nursing specialist Dr Nicola Carey, who is reader in long-term conditions at the University of Surrey, was awarded a prestigious Florence Nightingale Foundation Travel Scholarship.
“Improving the early detection of infection in nursing homes in the UK is a major concern”
The scholarship, which is sponsored by the Royal College of Nursing Foundation, will allow her to travel to three continents to learn more about detection and management of infections in vulnerable nursing home residents.
As part of the project, Ms Carey will visit nursing homes in the US, the Netherlands and Australia and shadow practitioners working in a variety of settings to learn more about infection control policy and practice.
She will also meet with key members of staff and teams leading innovative approaches to research in this area and developing new models of care.
Evidence shows nursing home residents are at increased risk of infection, often resulting in unplanned hospital admissions and clinical complications.
It is estimated that unplanned hospital admissions cost the NHS £11bn and account for more than a third of all admissions each year.
Dr Nicola Carey
It is hoped Dr Carey’s research will be “an important first step” in boosting understanding of the factors underpinning adoption, implementation and continuation of successful infection control schemes.
Dr Carey, who has worked in a variety of roles in primary care as a practice nurse and nurse practitioner, said she was looking forward to learning from the experiences of other countries.
“Improving the early detection of infection in nursing homes in the UK is a major concern, as not only does it impact the health of residents, it removes an enormous burden on an already overstretched NHS,” she said.
“To ameliorate the situation in the UK we need to look to other countries and learn from their best practices,” said Dr Carey.
“This is a necessity, given our changing population with its complex health and social care needs”
Professor Melaine Coward, head of the School of Health Sciences at the University of Surrey, said the study was particularly important in the context of the UK’s ageing population.
“I am delighted that Nicola has been awarded this scholarship that provides an exciting opportunity to improve the way infection is detected and managed in nursing homes,” she said.
“This is a necessity, given our changing population with its complex health and social care needs,” she added.