Approximately 1.7 million health-care associated infections (HAIs) occur in American hospitals each year. It is estimated that the burden in long-term care facilities ranges from 1.6 to 3.8 million infections among 1.5 million of American each year. WSHA works with hospitals, clinics and long-term care facilities, including leadership, clinicians, and specialists and many other stakeholders to reduce 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 that focus specifically on strengthening their role in the care delivery system.
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 the IP Mentoring and Support Program to long-term care facilities and hospitals. This program provides new or inexperienced IPs with seasoned IPs for one year of mentoring using the APIC Roadmap to provide a structured format to advance knowledge, skills, and careers in fighting infections. In addition, participants are offered monthly educational webinars from leaders in the field, as well as participating in an Infection Prevention forum to discuss timely IP topics with peers in a supportive environment.
- 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).