St. Paul ICP Recognized as Hero by APIC

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Helen Ahlbrecht, RN, GNP, CIC, of Partnering Care Senior Services in Saint Paul, Minn., is among the 2006 Heroes of Infection Prevention named by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) and Tyco Healthcare/Kendall.

Ahlbrecht is being recognized for her more than three decades of work improving the quality of life for residents of long-term care and assisted-living facilities, and for having trained hundreds of infection prevention and control nurses and directors of nursing in a five-state region.

The Heroes program recognizes APIC members who are contributing significantly to the reduction of infection and who are impacting the health, safety, and well-being of patients, healthcare workers and the public.

Ahlbrecht, a geriatric nurse practitioner and infection prevention and control professional (ICP), is one of 46 nurse practitioners who work with a team of physicians.

Unlike most ICPs, Im not employed by a hospital or long-term care facility, said Ahlbrecht. I collaborate with physicians in the long-term care arena.

When she started working with the elderly 15 years ago, there were six nurse practitioners working in long-term care or assisted-living facilities. The number has increased eight-fold, but Ahlbrecht is the only one who focuses on infection prevention and control.

"I use my clinical experience and passion to enhance infection prevention and control activities in long-term care facilities, Ahlbrecht said. Through teaching and consultation, I feel I am making a difference in infection prevention."

For Ahlbrecht, being recognized as a 2006 Heroes of Infection Prevention is a wonderful way to wrap up a long and interesting career.

Im retiring next year and plan to redirect my passion to oil painting, she concluded.

APIC congratulates Helen for a long and distinguished career in infection prevention and control, said APIC president Kathleen Meehan Arias, MS, CIC. This program has become an annual endeavor to bring attention to the important role of infection prevention in saving lives and reducing the cost of care.

The selection of "Heroes" is based on a number of criteria, including the sustainability of a program, the process or activity; and quantitative proof of success of the program.

Award recipients are featured in a 2006 calendar, which includes a photo of the winner and a brief description of his/her program. Each winner also receives a free registration to APICs 33rd annual educational conference and international meeting, which will be held June 11-15, 2006 in Tampa, Fla.

Source: APIC

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