Author: Russell N. Olmsted, MPH, CIC
2011 President, APIC
Director, Infection Prevention & Control Services, St. Joseph Mercy Health System,
Ann Arbor, Michigan
International Infection Prevention Week (IIPW), which occurs October 16–22, 2011, represents the 25th anniversary of the commemoration of the importance of infection prevention around the globe. It does not seem possible that 25 years have passed since the launch of this important event.
Under the theme of “infection prevention is everyone’s business,” this annual recognition allows APIC the opportunity to strengthen relationships with other organizations actively engaged in infection prevention and to broaden the understanding of how we all work together to protect patients. To date, nearly 30 associations and half of U.S. states have pledged their support for IIPW.
Our key partners – the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, the Association for the Healthcare Environment, the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses, the Infusion Nurses Society and the National Patient Safety Foundation –– are joining us to provide educational webinars during that week. We are also fortunate to have state Quality Improvement Organizations as supporting partners. Our Signature Sponsor, 3M Health Care, provides support for IIPW in the form of an unrestricted educational grant.
A highlight this year will be a policy summit on October 19 in Washington, DC, hosted by APIC and the National Journal. The summit will feature a panel discussion with policy experts, including Denise Cardo, MD, Director, Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), focusing on the resources necessary to eliminate preventable infections and ways in which healthcare reform efforts can improve patient outcomes.
As IIPW turns 25, we celebrate the substantial progress and the momentum toward prevention of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) that have already taken place. For example, in March, the CDC reported a significant decline in central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI) among ICU patients. The 58 percent decline in CLABSIs occurring in intensive care units in 2009, compared with 2001, reflects a focus by direct care providers, in collaboration with infection preventionists and healthcare epidemiologists, on improving patient safety and preventing this serious type of HAI. Through these efforts, lives were saved and suffering was eased.
The Partnership for Patients, announced in April by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to keep hospital patients from getting sicker and help patients heal without complication, identifies the prevention of HAIs as a high priority area of focus. The Partnership depends on collective action from all stakeholders in healthcare to advance patient safety.
We know that many HAIs can be prevented through consistent application of evidence-based best practices, but we still have a long way to go to attain our ultimate objective of eliminating preventable infections. We hope that the added focus on these issues during IIPW will help to accelerate progress toward this goal. Infection prevention is everyone’s business. We invite you to join with us as IIPW moves into the next quarter century.