US Infection Preventionists
According to the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), the agency in charge of infection preventionists in the United States, the major role of infection preventionists (IPs) is to interpret evidence and act as champions for key infection prevention and control which in turn leads to a low rate of infection. There is a collaboration between healthcare professionals, IPs, and risk managers. This collaboration will create a pathway toward permanently addressing healthcare-associated infections (HAIs).
US Infection Preventionists
- The major role of IPs is to interpret evidence and act as champions for key infection prevention and control which in turn leads to a low rate of infection.
- As per the report by Healthcare-Prevention Infections Program, the major role of infection preventionists in healthcare is prevention. The report notes that, for successful HAI prevention, IPs are to function as evaluators, HAI prevention experts, consultant and influencer, educator, collaborator, liaison, mentor and leader, and as a customer service agent.
- The association in charge of infection preventionists in the United States is the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).
- Many IPs are employed in healthcare institutions serving as educators, consultants, researchers, and clinical scientists.
- The majority of APIC members are involved with acute care settings where they direct programs that protect patients and personnel from healthcare-associated infections.
- APIC members also function in long-term care and home healthcare where there is much need for infection prevention and control and a low number of nurses and other healthcare personnel.
- According to Pharmacy One Source, IPs are major stakeholders in patient safety and quality improvement activities.
- Janet Haas, the President of the APIC, says there is a growing need for infection preventionists to acquire certification for their occupation.
- There are more than 16,000 infection preventionists in the United States with certified members 25% larger than the non-certified members.
FOUR MAJOR ROLES OF APIC
- APIC is tasked with the collection, analysis, and interpretation of health data to aid the tracking of infection trends, effectively plan interventions, evaluate success rates, and report any relevant information to public health agencies.
- Establishing scientifically-based infection prevention practices and collaboration with the healthcare team to ensure implementation.
- Functioning as a unit to prevent HAIs in healthcare facilities through the isolation of infections sources and limiting transmission.
- Teach and train healthcare personnel and the public about infectious diseases and how to curb its spread.
IP INTERACTION WITH OTHER HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS
- According to a report by Infection Control Today (ICT), there is a collaboration between healthcare professionals, infection preventionists, and risk managers.
- This collaboration, if increased, will become a positive step toward addressing HAIs.
- Ana Pujols McKee opines that IPs can aid hospital leaders and executives in promoting patient safety culture across hospital units.
- A 2018 survey on healthcare administrator perceptions of IPs indicates that healthcare leaders surveyed indicated positive interest in IPs' function in stewardship programs.
- ICT also reports that "the relationship between the infection prevention and risk management departments at a hospital is a crucial one, and it provides the foundation upon which patient safety and quality improvement efforts can be built."
- Safety/risk managers can help lighten the bulk of work on IPs by coordinating the training of EVS/housekeeping, nursing, and respiratory therapy staff.