The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released three resources that highlight the need for strong infection prevention and control programs throughout all types of healthcare facilities to fight the increasing threat of antibiotic-resistant bacteria:
- Vital Signs report urging healthcare facilities to use a combination of infection prevention and control measures to protect patients from antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
- National and State Healthcare-Associated Infection Progress Report which notes annual progress in reducing healthcare-associated infections.
- Antibiotic Resistance HAI Patient Safety Atlas, a new web app with interactive data on infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which will allow healthcare facilities to coordinate regional initiatives based on patterns of drug resistance.
APIC believes that the U.S. must do more to protect the 2 million Americans who develop infections from antibiotic-resistant bacteria each year and the 23,000 who will die as a result. More than half of all hospitalized patients will get an antibiotic at some point during their hospital stay, but studies have shown that 30 to 50 percent of antibiotics prescribed in hospitals are unnecessary or incorrect, contributing to the problem of antibiotic resistance.
With the ongoing threat of emerging infectious diseases and antibiotic-resistant organisms, APIC remains concerned that many facilities are lagging behind in providing adequate support to protect patients and healthcare workers. Unfortunately, many healthcare facilities do not have enough staff dedicated to infection prevention and control. A recent APIC survey found that one in two hospitals had only one or less than one full-time equivalent infection preventionist on staff.
The 2014 Ebola crisis highlighted the need for healthcare facilities across the U.S. to recognize the importance of infection prevention programs and support them with adequate resources to ensure they can handle emerging threats to public health, including antibiotic-resistant healthcare-associated infections. APIC urges healthcare leaders to assess the needs of their infection prevention programs and dedicate the necessary staff, training, and technology resources to this critical area. APIC recently undertook a ‘MegaSurvey’ of the infection preventionist profession and looks forward to sharing key data later this year to better inform the dialogue about staffing, program structure, and resource levels for infection prevention and control programs.