Improving the experience of patients colonised with superbugs

Exploring the patient’s experience when allocated to an isolation room to manage multi-resistant organism

Royal Perth Bentley Group


Coordinating Principal Investigator: Ms Gabrielle Calleja

Co-Investigators: Mr Simon Myer-Henry, A/Professor Vicki Patton

This research project investigates how to improve the patient experience and reduce the mental health impact on patients colonised with Multi-resistant organisms (MROs). MROs, commonly referred to as "superbugs," are bacteria that cannot be killed using common antibiotics and pose significant challenges in healthcare settings.  

To prevent the spread of microorganisms, hospitals use isolation rooms and personal protective clothing such as gowns and gloves as crucial infection control measures. However, isolation can have a negative impact on the mental health of patients, especially when isolation is prolonged. 

This is further exacerbated for patients from diverse populations, such as patients from rural and remote areas of Western Australia, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people, and patients from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Being separated from the community or having language barriers increases the negative impact of isolating MRO patients. 

Despite this, there's a lack of understanding regarding how patients cope with the knowledge of being colonised (infected) with an MRO. The study aims to understand patients' concerns and emotional experiences related to MRO colonisation and isolation, gathering insights to improve patient-centred care. The research will involve engaging with patients who have been identified as colonised with MROs, gathering their perspectives on the information they receive, their emotional experiences, and their needs during and after isolation. 

By understanding these aspects, the project aims to improve patient-centred care and provide better support for individuals affected by MRO colonisation. The project will help determine how MRO colonisation and isolation affect a patient's mental health and could help change how patients are treated in the future.  

This will help the Royal Perth Bentley Group understand the mental health impact of MRO patient isolation on their patients and if evidence shows a significant impact on the mental health and wellbeing of isolated patients, this may serve as a catalyst to change practice and redevelop how RPBG manages patients with MRO colonisation.  

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