APIC 2022 President Linda Dickey, RN, MPH, CIC, FAPIC, releases a statement calling for health care facilities to assess infection preventionist workloads and reprioritize critical patient safety work.
“The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) is concerned that the COVID-19 Omicron surge is overloading infection preventionists (IPs) such that administrative tasks are interfering with their ability to perform critical patient safety and infection surveillance work inside our nation’s health care facilities,” the statement reads.
“IPs are the only health care professionals with specialized expertise in spotting clusters of infections and integrating evidence-based strategies to limit their spread. Given the current Omicron surge, APIC is concerned that IPs are unable to perform the work that only they can do that optimizes safety for health care organizations. If our nation’s IPs are bogged down with data entry and other administrative work, they are less able to protect patients and staff from COVID transmission or the spread of drug-resistant organisms. Efforts to investigate clusters of infections or conduct surveillance for healthcare-associated infections may fall short amid the overwhelming amount of paperwork necessitated by the pandemic,” it continues. “The current IP workload, combined with a shortage of IPs, requires health care leaders to work with their IPs and carefully examine where they should focus their efforts. APIC calls on health care leaders to provide support so that IPs can focus on their critical patient safety work.”
“To assist, APIC has created the IPC Acuity Scale, a free, downloadable tool that organizes IP tasks into categories that should remain high priority, as well as those that can be delegated to trained non-IP staff or set aside altogether,” the statement concludes.