4 findings on infection prevention in nonacute care settings

While health systems have started to shift focus from inpatient care to outpatient care in ambulatory settings, infection prevention staffing and resources are still "lacking" in that arena, according to a study published in the American Journal of Infection Control.


The study covered survey results of more than 4,000 members of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology. The APIC MegaSurvey was administered in 2015.

Of the 4,078 infection preventionists who completed the survey, 861 (21 percent) reported working outside of the acute care setting, such as ambulatory surgery centers, long-term care facilities, long-term acute care facilities, inpatient behavioral or mental health, clinics or outpatient services and home care or hospice services.

Here are four major findings on the infection preventionists who work in nonacute care settings.

1. Most are new to infection prevention. Even though more than half had been in healthcare for 16 years or more before becoming an infection preventionist, 54 percent reported they had been in infection prevention and control for five years or less. This "indicates that the inclusion of IPs in nonacute care settings is a more recent phenomenon," according to the study.

2. Very few are certified in infection control. Just 15 percent said they held a CIC. "[E]fforts to improve certification levels among IPs outside of acute care in settings such as ASCs has the potential to improve IPC practice," the study authors wrote, as certification in infection control has been linked to lower infection rates.

3. Less than half of their jobs are spent on infection prevention and control. Thirty percent said about 26 to 50 percent of their job was spent on IPC, and 28 percent said less than a quarter of their time is spent on such activities.

However, that varies by practice location. For instance, more than one-third of IPs working in LTACs, inpatient mental health and in clinics or outpatient services spend 76 to 100 percent of their time on IPC.

They could use more support. Very few IPs in nonacute care settings said they had help for secretarial functions or support for EMRs or data.

"This study indicates that resources directed to IPC in nonacute care settings may be lacking," the study concludes. "Research is needed to further examine staffing and IPC resources, including training and educational needs, in settings outside of acute care, which represent unique challenges to IPC."

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars