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Development of an initial report.... for reducing the risk of vulnerable groups contracting listeriosis

The aim of project FS101057 was to draft guidance to reduce the risk of vulnerable groups contracting listeriosis in healthcare settings.

Background

Listeriosis is a foodborne illness caused by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. It is rare but can cause serious illness and death in vulnerable groups of the population.

The aim of this project was to provide good practice guidance to help healthcare organisations, such as hospitals and care homes, to determine what steps can be put in place to identify and control the risk of L. monocytogenes in ready-to-eat foods provided to vulnerable groups.

Research Approach

The primary objective was to produce good practice guidance for healthcare organisations in order to help them reduce the risk of vulnerable people within their care contracting listeriosis. The guidance was developed by our organisation with input from a wide range of stakeholders and published in June 2016.

To help inform the development of the guidance and ensure the guidance was based on sound, reliable evidence three reports were undertaken:

  • Report 1 – Literature review researching the body of literature on the nature and incidence of L. monocytogenes.
  • Report 2 - Investigation into current practices used to control listeriosis in healthcare settings via site visits, investigations, interviews and a survey.
  • Report 3 - Examination of previous outbreaks of listeriosis and lessons learned from UK hospitals.

Results

The objectives of this project were met.

Report 1, the literature review, summarised the existing body of knowledge relating to the nature and extent of the problem of L. monocytogenes in vulnerable groups.

Report 2 assessed and summarised current food safety management and procurement practices in respect of L. monocytogenes in healthcare settings in consultation with participating organisations and via a survey of a comprehensive cross section of healthcare organisations.

Report 3 gathered information from previous listeriosis outbreaks in UK hospitals to identify the foods most commonly implicated, examining the investigation findings and incorporated appropriate lessons learned in respect of weaknesses in the procurement and provision of food.

The guidance for healthcare and social care organisations – reducing the risk of vulnerable groups contracting listeriosis is published on our website.

Research Report