Infection prevention coaches may help improve hand hygiene among HCW
Implementing hospital programs that include infection control coaches may help improve infection prevention and control strategies among health care workers, according to results of a study presented at the 36th International Meeting of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, held here this week.
The study, based on data from a program implemented at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City, demonstrated that peer infection prevention coaches can have a positive impact on hand hygiene – as well as vaccination rates – among health care workers. The results also demonstrated a link between the use of infection prevention coaches and improved patient safety.
As part of the program, officials from St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center gave designated health care workers in each unit responsibility for supporting infection control efforts. Managers chose four employees from each of four units. The employees attended a two-day training program focused on three programs: hand hygiene, environmental cleanliness and employee influenza immunization. The development of coaching skills was also a part of the training.
Following implementation of the program, each unit demonstrated improvements in hand hygiene adherence. Improvements ranged from 2% and 47%, according to the study results.
The results also demonstrated the program had a positive effect on influenza vaccination rates among health care workers. Increases in influenza vaccination rates ranged from 9% to 100%.
For more information:
- Smith B. #8-93. Presented at: The 36th International Meeting of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology. June 7-11, 2009. Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Infection prevention coaches clearly cannot be everywhere at once, and thus the concept of an infection control coach, or champion, on each nursing unit is rapidly gaining in both credibility and popularity. We are finding it useful in meeting several IC needs at the University of Colorado Hospital. And yet, as observed by one of our infection prevention coaches, its incredibly sad that we need to depend on these patchwork or desperate measures to ensure that people do what we all ought to be doing anyway!
Theodore C. Eickhoff
Infectious Disease News Chief Medical Editor