The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology has teamed up with the CDC to create “quick assessment” cards with infection prevention tips on various patient populations or care environments.
“These assessments are easily downloaded and take the form of 3-8 questions for each observation or patient in order to facilitate a quick check at the local level,” APIC explains.1 “Deficiencies can be identified, investigated, and remediated in a timely manner.”
The idea is that the cards are used by frontline caregivers — not IPs who already have this knowledge. The premise is that there are already standard education and policy approaches, but the cards serve as a somewhat whimsical but potentially effective reminder to frontline workers, explains Nancy Donegan, RN, an APIC infection prevention consultant.
“You need all those other parts — the policy and the education. But the people who prevent infections are the ones closest to the patient,” she says. “They get education and reminders in a sort of central fashion, but this is really much more organic. It is meant to be quick and quite intuitive.”
Somewhat similar to board game “chance” cards, the assessment cards are printed on pieces of paper that can be easily disposed and reprinted.
“People can modify them quite easily,” she says, “If their PPE supplies are not readily available, they can ‘overload’ those cards. So if there are 40 cards, maybe 20 of them will be a card telling them to check supply availability. If you have a problem you want to address, you can kind of stack the deck in that direction.”
The cards could be used by a manager or staff in a particular hospital unit or for a patient population being assessed.
“Each observation is based on specific guideline recommendations or general consensus as published in the literature,” APIC noted.
For example, a card on instrument processing includes the following questions:
- Are disinfected instruments stored in a manner to protect them from damage and contamination?
- Is each piece of equipment labeled with the day of most recent disinfection?
- Are scopes, if present, stored in a dedicated area and hung vertically to facilitate drying?
“We hope these are used by the workers who see the patients on the units,” Donegan says. “Say every week they draw a card and [follow instructions] — it takes about 10 minutes.”
- APIC. Observation Tools Library. Available at: https://bit.ly/2Drr33F.