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Hospital infection prevention and environmental services partnering to fight superbugs

The U.S. based Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) and the Association for the Healthcare Environment (AHE) are partnering to strengthen the relationship between infection prevention (IP) and environmental services (EVS) to reduce infections.




A joint educational campaign, "Clean Spaces, Healthy Patients: Leaders in Infection Prevention and Environmental Services Working Together for Better Patient Outcomes," will incorporate educational resources, training materials and other solutions to help IP and EVS professionals combat the spread of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs).

Cooperation between IP and EVS staff is an excellent idea. However, the privatization of environmental services will undermine this cooperation. From our experience, for-profit cleaning corporations prefer to keep direct control of EVS staff to maintain profits. IP and nursing staff may have to make requests to the corporate hierarchy rather than front-line EVS staff. Direct collaboration with hospital staff? Not so much.

APIC and AHE add: "The process of cleaning and disinfecting healthcare facilities is of the utmost importance to best ensure patient safety and prevent the spread of HAIs."

"According to AHE practice guidance, daily cleaning and disinfecting of an occupied patient room with attention to high touch surfaces such as bedrails, knobs, call buttons, etc., will take approximately 25 to 30 minutes per room. A terminal/discharge cleaning will take longer, 40 to 45 minutes and up to 60 minutes, depending on room size, number of horizontal and high touch surfaces, and number of tasks to be performed in an efficacious manner."

"As the government and accrediting bodies increase scrutiny in this area, rigorous environmental cleaning becomes even more important," says Bill Rutala, Clinical Advisor to APIC. "There are well-established guidelines for proper cleaning and disinfection, and making this information available to professionals and front line staff is vital."

Over 2000 members of APIC and AHE were surveyed to determine how they work together to protect patients. The professionals reported that there is a need for additional education and resources to facilitate successful prevention of HAIs. Almost nine in 10 are interested in hearing how other facilities have created successful IP-EVS partnerships.

Hopefully, these partnerships will develop in Ontario hospitals as well.

Comments

  1. This is exactly what needs to happen to prevent and control the hospital environment. The hospital where I have worked for 20 years is always trying to improve and the relationship between IP and EVS has greatly improved but nursing and physicians need to have a better understanding on the situation (prevention, control, and cleaning)

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