We caught up with a hospital administrator recently and he said, speaking anonymously, "Most infection control programs are just dog and pony shows." It wasn't surprising that he wanted to remain anonymous as he spoke candidly about his experience with infection control managers. The following paragraphs are a few thoughts he used to back up his claim (summarized):
First of all, it is difficult to trust that the hand hygiene numbers are the real results. Hand hygiene compliance statistics often seem too subjective and based on biases in favor of more seasoned staff members. Our source was not sure if there is some intimidation present that prevents infection preventionists from accurately judging all employees equally. However, he noticed that there is a tendency to automatically assume that all new employees use less hand hygiene. In reality, many new staff members are quick to pick up on guidelines whereas seasoned employees know what to do but are lazy to comply.
Second, there is problem of management alerting staff members about audits before they happen (whether the infection preventionists are aware they are letting staffers know or not). As most can guess, when auditors are present, everyone acts better. When employees know they are being checked, true hand hygiene numbers are skewed to show favorable results. Anyone can look like a rock star organization when they know they are being scrutinized.
Third, not enough people care and respect the infection control department or infection preventionist. In certain circles, infection preventionists are likened unto cheerleaders. Always cheering and making noise but they end up not playing a huge part in the overall outcome of the game. Infection control professionals are known to hang signs, hand out treats and have clever activities; however, most information is not retained by the participating staff members.
Lastly, training is often too general, lacks real consequences and gives the seasoned staff members a break. In general, the seasoned staff members know the compliance guidelines and infection control information- they just need a real compelling reason to comply and need to be led.
We do not doubt that our source (outspoken health professional) may be rubbing most infection preventionists the wrong way and may be igniting a fierce reaction. For, his opinion does not represent how infection control is perceived in all organizations.
We have seen the accurate hand hygiene results in many facilities nationwide and have witnessed some impressive infection control programs. So, before taking our source's criticism personal, let’s take what we can from his opinion to see what you can improve upon in your organization. The following are some general points that you can use to upgrade your infection control program:
It you would like more information that can help your infection control programs succeed, see the following links:
Glo Germ Hand Hygiene Trainings
Environmental Cleaning Verification Training (Fluorescent)
The OUTFOX Program
Product Quick Links:
OUTFOX Mindset Items:
The OUTFOX Lesson
Stickers and Magnets
T-Shirts, Bracelets, Hats, Ties, Mugs, Etc.
Digital FOX Symbol