4 Findings on Infection Prevention in U.S. ICUs

While infection prevention has made progress, guidelines for infection prevention staffing in acute care hospitals are due for an overhaul, according to research published in the American Journal of Infection Control.

Researchers took stock of infection control staffing practices across nearly 1,000 acute-care hospitals and more than 1,600 intensive care units that are enrolled in the National Healthcare Safety Network. They then characterized the staffing practices on participating ICUs:

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  • The average number of infection preventionists per 100 beds was 1.2.
  • Certification among infection prevention staff was highly variable.
  • Intensive data management and secretarial support for data management, two features of successful evidence-driven care, were rare, with small numbers of work hours devoted to either each week.
  • Rates of hospital-acquired infection were no different among the group of hospitals that responded to the survey and the nonresponsive group.

Researchers concluded more must be done to support and prioritize evidence-based infection prevention in intensive care units, as these are experimentally vetted steps for improving the success of intervention programs.

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