State of Infection Prevention in US Hospitals Enrolled in the National Health and Safety Network

Published in: American Journal of Infection Control, v. 42, no. 2, Feb. 2014, p. 94-99

Posted on RAND.org on February 01, 2014

by Patricia Stone, Monika Pogorzelska-Maziarz, Carolyn T. A. Herzig, Lindsey M. Weiner, E. Yoko Furuya, Andrew W. Dick, Elaine L. Larson

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BACKGROUND: This report provides a national cross-sectional snapshot of infection prevention and control programs and clinician compliance with the implementation of processes to prevent health care–associated infections (HAIs) in intensive care units (ICUs). METHODS: All hospitals, except Veterans Affairs hospitals, enrolled in the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) were eligible to participate. Participation involved completing a survey assessing the presence of evidence-based prevention policies and clinician adherence and joining our NHSN research group. Descriptive statistics were computed. Facility characteristics and HAI rates by ICU type were compared between respondents and nonrespondents. RESULTS: Of the 3,374 eligible hospitals, 975 provided data (29% response rate) on 1,653 ICUs, and there were complete data on the presence of policies in 1,534 ICUs. The average number of infection preventionists (IPs) per 100 beds was 1.2. Certification of IP staff varied across institutions, and the average hours per week devoted to data management and secretarial support were generally low. There was variation in the presence of policies and clinician adherence to these policies. There were no differences in HAI rates between respondents and nonrespondents. CONCLUSIONS: Guidelines for IP staffing in acute care hospitals need to be updated. In future work, we will analyze the associations between HAI rates and infection prevention and control program characteristics, as well as the implementation of and clinician adherence to evidence-based policies.

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