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Keywords:

  • residential and infirmary setting;
  • SARS precautions;
  • severe intellectual disabilities

Abstract

Background  Hong Kong went through a battle with a new respiratory disease, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), from March to June 2003. All clinical settings, including rehabilitative and infirmary setting, have actively involved in fighting against the infection. The intent of this paper was to reflect on the SARS precautionary measures that had been taken in a severe intellectual disabilities hospital in Hong Kong.

Methods  A review on six SARS precautionary measures were conducted. They were assessment of risk, formulation of operational guidelines, implementation of infection control measures, education and training of staff, conducting audits and carrying out environmental improvement work.

Results  Patients were at risk of getting infected from carers, visitors, volunteers, and staff and patients of general hospitals. A SARS Quarantine Unit, isolation ward, was opened to isolate patients who might have had close contact with SARS patients during a stay in a general hospital or when they returned from home leave. Undoubtedly, both staff and relatives participated in preventing the patients from being infected. No day leave and home leave was reported and the number of hospitalization in general hospital was decreased during the critical period. Three infection control audits were conducted and improvement work was carried out subsequently.

Conclusion  The practice of grouping within a standard isolation room is recommended to continue in the future. Moreover, intensive infection control training for all staff is of highest importance to safeguard the health of both staff and patient.