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This award-winning blog supplements the articles in Hospital Infection Control & Prevention.

CDC distilling infection control recommendations down to 'core practices'

In looking over years of recommendations and various rankings, the CDC's Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee realized that all of those pages left unanswered a recurrent question: Which of the many recommendations reflect the most important infection control practices to protect patients?

OK, hand hygiene is easy, but beyond that it gets a little more challenging as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s advisory panel tries to crystalize the most important practices in the reams of guidelines.

“We started out by looking at what are those things that are mentioned across all of the guidelines,” says HICPAC member Ruth Carrico, PhD, RN, CIC. “They have different grades in the different guidelines.”

The ongoing process will result in the first set of core infection prevention measures, something HICPAC hopes can be used for educational purposes in multiple settings.

“The accrediting agencies, for example, could use the core measures to not only train their surveyors, but teach them what sort of things they should be looking at when they go into facilities,” she says.

The measures could also be used for education in medical and nursing schools, pharmacy and dental training, she said. As it currently stands, those looking for key recommendations may find different answers in different guidelines, with HICPAC’s review of the evidence process sometimes giving little weight to an established intervention. The “wake-up call” was finding that hand hygiene received a low supporting grade for evidence in neonatal intensive care because there was no research or clinical trials to promote the cardinal rule of infection prevention in that particular setting, she said.

While still under discussion, the measures discussed at a recent HICPAC meeting included these core groups:

-Hand hygiene

-Safe injection practices

-Standard precautions

-Training and education of healthcare personnel

-Patient and family education

-Environmental cleaning and disinfection

-Administrative support

-Monitoring and feedback of performance measures