Approximately 1.7 million health-care associated infections (HAIs) occur in American hospitals each year. This results in 99,000 associated deaths of which many could have been prevented. WSHA works with hospitals, including leadership, clinicians, and specialists and many other stakeholders to reduce these infections. WSHA acknowledges that Infection Preventionists (IPs) play an integral role in preventing HAIs. IPs come from backgrounds in nursing, medical technology, public health, medicine and many other professions and has several programs that focus specifically on strengthening their role in hospitals.
Key WSHA infection prevention activities underway include:
- Partnering with AHA/HRET and AHRQ on the ICU Patient Safety Program for CAUTIs (catheter-acquired urinary tract infections) and CLABSIs (central line-acquired blood stream infections).
- Assisting hospitals implement CUSP (Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program). CUSP is a proven method for preventing healthcare-associated infections, including VAEs (ventilator-associated episodes) and other patient harms. CUSP combines improvements in safety culture, teamwork, and communication with a checklist of evidence-based practices for preventing the target HAI or patient harm.
- Offering the IP Mentoring and Support Program. This program matches new or inexperienced IPs with experienced IPs for one year of mentoring. In addition, IPs are provided a structured format to advance their knowledge, skills, and careers in fighting infections.
- Offering the SSIs (surgical site infections) Reduction Program. This program is geared not only for IPs but also for surgeons and other surgical staff. Inspirational stories from other hospitals, best practices, bundles, and education is provided for the surgical team along with mentoring by surgeons for surgeons to learn how to update wound classification and update nomenclature for coders and IPs.
- Partnering with the Washington Department of Health and other agencies to help hospitals develop and implement plans based on feedback from their TAP (Targeted Assessment for Prevention) reports from the CDC for CAUTIs, CLABSIs, and CDIs (Clostridium Difficile).