WHO's 8 guidelines for effective infection prevention programs

Healthcare facilities around the world are continually challenged with healthcare-associated infections and the rise of antibiotic resistance. According to the World Health Organization, 7 percent of patients in developed countries and 10 percent in developing countries will acquire at least one HAI. For these reasons, the WHO issues updates on guidelines for the core components of an effective infection prevention program.

The latest guidelines were initially issued in November 2016 and are designed to be applicable to healthcare organizations around the globe. On Tuesday, an article examining the guidelines was published in the journal Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control.

Here are the WHO's eight core components for infection prevention programs.

1. Every acute healthcare facility should institute infection prevention programs with dedicated and trained staff to prevent HAIs and combat antibiotic resistance.

2. Every facility should establish evidence-based guidelines for HAI and monitor healthcare worker adherence to those guidelines.

3. The WHO recommends staff education be a key component of the infection prevention program. Educational efforts should include bedside simulations designed to put HAI reduction strategies into practice.

4. HAI rates should be tracked both within the facility and on a national scale to guide infection prevention interventions.

5. Healthcare organizations should use multimodal strategies for HAI reduction. These strategies should be designed to meet goals of national healthcare initiatives and facility accreditation bodies when applicable.

6. Infection prevention programs and relevant staff should be regularly audited and provided with performance feedback.

7. A healthcare organization's bed occupancy should not exceed the standard capacity of established for the facility. Also, provider staffing levels should be adequately aligned with the patient workload.

8. Healthcare facilities should implement WHO standards for quantity and appropriate position of hand hygiene materials and meet WHO standards for drinking water quality and sanitation. Equipment and the patient environment should also be cleaned appropriately.

More articles on infection control: 
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State health officials warn of potential measles exposure in Colorado

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