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AN INFECTION COULD BE DEVASTATING


Amelia Brown feels safer when she sees healthcare workers
cleaning their hands.

As a fit and active 16 year old, Amelia didn’t think that the pain in her arm would be caused by anything other than her strenuous dance training.

In fact, Amelia had osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer. Since finding out, Amelia has undergone several rounds of chemotherapy with further treatment planned.

Chemotherapy has left Amelia with a weakened immune system, so she is at high risk of developing a healthcare associated infection.

This means good hand hygiene by her healthcare workers is vitally important. An infection spread by unclean hands could have a devastating effect for Amelia and her family.

“I really worry about getting an infection because I know how serious the impact of it could be,” says Amelia.

“I can’t control much about my illness, but I do try my best to protect myself against infections and expect the doctors and nurses who treat me to do the same.

“It makes me feel safer when I see them practicing hand hygiene. If they didn’t I would be quick to ask them to,” she adds.

Seeing alcohol based hand rub throughout the ward provides Amelia and her mum with reassurance that the doctors and nurses can easily clean their hands at the appropriate times, and they regularly use it themselves.

Amelia encourages anyone in hospital to speak up if they are worried a healthcare worker is not cleaning theirs hands when they should. To help patients do this Amelia suggests that information advising patients what they can do if hand hygiene is not being practiced would be useful in all hospitals.

As a healthcare worker you are responsible for keeping patients like Amelia infection free. What you do makes a difference; their lives are in your hands.

Thank you to Amelia and her mum Kim for sharing their experience, we wish you well.

If you would like to share Amelia’s story you can download a version of it here.