Resourcing hospital infection prevention and control units in Australia: A discussion paper
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Background: Infection control professionals (ICPs) are critical in maintaining high standards of quality patient care. Until recently, little was known about the scope of practice, structures, resources and priorities for ICPs and infection control units more generally. Over the past three years we have undertaken a program of work to explore these issues. The purpose of this discussion paper is to synthesise these results and outline implications for the Australian infection control community. Methods: We undertook a survey of individual ICPs in Australian and New Zealand and a survey of hospital infection control units within Australia. To understand how our research program could be used to inform and be of value, we also convened a stakeholder workshop to discuss how data from our studies could be translated into meaningfully constructed findings. A synthesis of the findings from the two surveys and the workshop was undertaken and this formed the basis of this discussion paper. Results: We were able for the first time, to comprehensively report on infection control staffing levels, priorities and barriers within Australia. We identified considerable variability in the scope, experience and expertise of ICPs and the potential value that credentialing has with respect to effective infection control programs. We were however, unable to develop recommendations with respect to staffing. Conclusion: The findings of our work may be used in designing and justifying business cases for infection prevention and control resources. There is also a need to undertake a similar study in settings other than hospitals.
Infection, Disease & Health
Nursing not elsewhere classified