“The typical center has only one infection preventionist dedicating 20 hours a week to surveillance, monitoring, analyzing, reporting and educating, which can prove to be overwhelming,” said Arnold. “Consider expanding your circle of support when it comes to infection prevention education. Champions don’t have to be just staff, but can extend to residents, their families, volunteers, activities coordinators, and dietary support. Increasing the number of individuals focused on infection prevention and control can ensure your program has continuity.”
Reprioritizing hand hygiene
One area of infection control that Arnold recommends as a priority when planning for 2023 is hand hygiene. According to the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) proper hand hygiene is the number one way to prevent the spread of infection.
“I know it can begin to sound like a broken record, but post-acute care facilities should ask themselves if they are doing the hand hygiene observations they need to in order to optimally assess compliance and how they are utilizing data to improve processes.”
Finding a dedicated partner
Another solution is finding partners to enhance your organization’s infection prevention strategy. Medline partnered with skilled nursing provider Cashmere Post Acute, an 85-bed facility in Washington state, to implement a customized infection prevention program combining products and education to enhance best practices around hand hygiene compliance. The program included online education via Medline University, quarterly clinical presentations and train the trainer kits, including a unique card game designed to teach staff the essential moments for hand hygiene compliance. “Having Medline as a partner helps ensure that I have someone by my side, presenting educational resources that I would not have necessarily thought of,” said Kat Murray, RN, infection preventionist for Cashmere Post-Acute. “The activities are engaging for our staff, and I feel like I’m not alone in this journey to enhance infection prevention best practices.”
Learn more about Medline’s Post-Acute Care Infection Prevention Program.