Infection prevention and control (IPC) is necessary to avert the spread of communicable diseases in health care settings. A basic understanding of the epidemiology of diseases, factors that increase or prevent patient susceptibility to infections, and the practices, procedures, and treatments that may lead to or mitigate against healthcare acquired infections (HAI)s are fundamental to the IPC. At any given moment, 1 in 31 hospital patients have an infection related to their care. These HAIs are the source of tens of thousands of deaths and cost the U.S. health care system billions of dollars each year. WSHA works with hospitals, clinics, and long-term care facilities, including infection preventionists (IPs), leadership, clinicians, and specialists and many other stakeholders to reduce HAIs.
IPs come from backgrounds in nursing, medical technology, public health, medicine, and many other professions. IPs have the challenge of getting people to do the right thing 100% of the time. they accomplish this by providing managers with evidence-based best practices, data to support IP efforts, and tools to help with education and re-education of staff as needed. Many of WSH’s IPC resources have the IP as the main point of focus.
Key WSHA infection prevention activities underway include:
- Assisting hospitals implement CUSP (Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program). CUSP is a proven method for preventing healthcare-associated infections, including VAEs (ventilator-associated episodes), CAUTIs (catheter-associated urinary tract infections), CLABSIs (central line-associated blood stream infections), CDIs (Clostridioides difficile infections), SSIs (surgical site infections), and other patient harms. CUSP combines improvements in safety culture, teamwork, and communication with evidence-based practices for preventing the target HAI or patient harm. Participating hospitals are provided monthly coaching, webinars, opportunities to interact with other hospital cohort members, learn from subject matter experts and receive hospital site-visits with WSHA staff.
- Offering support for members. WSHA staff will visit on-site or virtually to review data from WSHA’s IPC Dashboard with IP’s and their IPC Team to help you with SMART goals. Follow-up visits will be provided to help support you in your progress. New or inexperienced IPs can ask for appointments for one on one time to review resources that can help you in your job in the fight against HAIs. Members can sign up for the IP Email Update, an electronic newsletter with information about upcoming educational events, articles and research about IPC. In addition, participants are offered monthly participation in the IP Forum to discuss timely IPC topics with peers in a supportive environment.
- Partnering with Steris University to provide members with monthly sterile processing webinars. You can learn everything about best practices in infection control, and surgical and endoscopy environments, packaging, storage, and more as it pertains to device processing. Speakers are nationally recognized subject matter experts who are available to also take your questions. Participants are provided CEUs.