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The (ANTT®) Approach
What is Aseptic Non Touch Technique (ANTT®)?
Aseptic Non Touch Technique is a unique clinical practice framework developed in the 1990s and now used in many healthcare work places. It is used internationally and in the UK National Health Service. It is a series of clinical guidelines reviewed by peer specialists in different medical fields that interpret results of research undertaken in aseptic practice. It is a clinical practice framework intended for any invasive procedure developed for aseptic technique. The core aim of the ANTT® model is infection prevention for all invasive clinical procedures.
What is Aseptic Technique?
Aseptic technique is a generic term that broadly defines the process of asepsis specific to invasive clinical procedures. It also includes the maintenance of invasive medical devices. Aseptic technique during invasive clinical procedures is the last line of defence for those undergoing procedures from microorganisms. The aim is to prevent the introduction of pathogenic organisms into vulnerable patient sites and to maintain the aseptic state of clinical equipment.
The ANTT® framework model
There are different elements to the ANTT® model for safe aseptic technique:
- Provides an effective way of educating and training staff in safe aseptic technique. This education is standard and can be undertaken in any healthcare environment including challenging environments where resources are limited. The practice framework provides a robust set of rules to teach safe and efficient aseptic technique.
- Standardises aseptic technique across work places and reduces variability in practice. This should lead to reductions in healthcare associated infections.
- Supports healthcare work places to manage the significant risks of aseptic technique. Once staff are trained then it is not difficult to follow the ANTT® framework.
- The standard practice reassures patients. If a patient can see different staff doing the same process then it restores confidence in attending a hospital for a procedure. Most people had read about different healthcare-associated infections (HCAI) such as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in the NHS and this can be frightening when being admitted for invasive procedures.
So what is the best way to introduce this technique into a work place?
Initially staff may believe that they don’t need the ANTT® approach and require justification for introducing a new method of aseptic technique into their work environment. It is important that staff understand the value or this framework as they are the people that will be using it on a daily basis.
To start the process of introducing ANTT® an audit is required to review whether this technique is required. So the present aseptic practice is audited. The results can then be used to demonstrate the need for ANTT® locally and later the baseline audit can be used for a comparison with results achieved after the ANTT® framework is introduced.
Once a decision is taken that the ANTT® framework would be beneficial then it needs to be implemented in a timely and effective manner.
A designated staff member who is competent in infection control can be identified and begin the process. All employees are informed of the initiative and the role they play in ensuring it is effective. Staff will need to attend training to understand what action to take in using this approach. In addition to the training other information resources such as posters and other media can be used to enhance the message across the healthcare work environment.
Where can the ANTT® framework be used?
Guidelines on different work methods in lots of areas are borne out of the ANTT® framework. For example the work done by paramedics will be different to the work done in a small hospital abroad which poses unique challenges in implementing the ANTT® framework for the specific medical procedure being undertaken. All procedures developed under the ANTT® framework will be similar in its structured approach but will also be unique in that the procedure is bespoke to the work being done in the specific work environment. The key is to understand the framework and then apply in an effective manner to the job being done. All procedures must be fit for purpose.
The effectiveness of the use of the ANTT® framework through the introducing of different procedures will need to be reviewed and monitored at intervals to ensure it remains practical and relevant to the workplace. Research is constantly being done in different areas and the results of any research may mean that the procedures developed will need to be reviewed and changed where appropriate.
In summary the ANTT® framework is a logical standardised practical approach for any invasive clinical procedure developed for aseptic technique. It is understood in all healthcare facilities as it is easy to use and implement. A hospital in the UK will find that the ANTT® framework is implemented in the UK or in a healthcare facility abroad.
QCS has policies on infection control to meet your CQC requirements.
Sally Beck RGN, BSc (Hons), MSc, CMIOSH – QCS Expert Health and Safety Contributor