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Hospital Infection Prevention Resources Cut, Study Says
Date:6/9/2009

Prevention Departments are Under-financed, Under-staffed; Patient Safety Weakened

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., June 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Hospitals are cutting staff, resources and education for infection prevention at a time when the prevalence of many healthcare-associated infections is increasing, according to a report released today by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).

The "2009 APIC Economic Survey" found that of nearly 2,000 infection preventionists who responded, 41 percent reported reductions in budgets for infection prevention in the last 18 months due primarily to the economic downturn.

According to the survey, three-quarters of those whose budgets were cut experienced decreases for the necessary education that trains healthcare personnel in preventing the transmission of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) such as MRSA and C. difficile. Half saw reductions in overall budgets for infection prevention, including money for technology, staff, education, products, equipment and updated resources. Nearly 40 percent had layoffs or reduced hours, and a third experienced hiring freezes.

"We are concerned by these findings," said APIC 2009 President Christine J. Nutty, RN, MSN, CIC. "At a time when the federal government will be requiring hospitals to meet national targets for HAI reduction, infection prevention departments at our nation's healthcare facilities need to be growing, not shrinking."

A third of survey respondents say that cuts in staffing and resources have reduced their capacity to focus on infection prevention activities. A quarter of respondents have had to reduce surveillance activities to detect, track and monitor HAIs.

"Every healthcare facility must have the resources to identify infections, conduct a systematic investigation to determine the cause, and implement and evaluate pre
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SOURCE APIC
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