Infection prevention programs may need up to 66% more staffing than current levels

A study, published in American Journal of Infection Control, examines a nonprofit health system's approach at quantifying the actual number of infection preventionists and support staff needed for a successful infection prevention program.

Researchers used a survey to make a list of all physical locations within the organization requiring infection prevention coverage. They tallied required infection prevention activities for each physical location by task.

The researchers also determined type of activity, frequency per year, hours per activity and total number of locations in which each activity should occur. They used this data to calculate the number of hours per week of infection prevention labor resources needed.

The study shows the actual labor need was 31 percent to 66 percent above current benchmarks of 0.5 to 1.0 infection preventionist per 100 occupied beds. When aggregated across the organization, researchers found the new benchmark should be one infection prevention full-time equivalent employee per 69 beds if ambulatory, long-term care or home care are included.

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