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To help ambulatory care centers protect patients from infection during disasters, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) has released a new guide which is available as a free, online download.
During a disaster, the risk for infection transmission in ambulatory care centers increases, especially if hospitals cannot absorb patient influx and centers need to expand their operations to help address patient surge in the community. "Infection Prevention for Ambulatory Care Centers During Disasters" provides infection prevention recommendations and resources for the development of an emergency management plan, including recommendations on:
- Operational expansion in the event of patient surges
- Program planning
- Patient scheduling
- Triage and surveillance
- Occupational health issues
It is important for ambulatory care centers to prepare in advance so that the facility is ready to respond should a disaster occur, says Terri Rebmann, PhD, RN, CIC, lead author of the guide, and associate professor at Saint Louis University, School of Public Health - Institute for Biosecurity. Infection prevention must become part of daily practice, as well as a component of the emergency management planning and training scenarios for ambulatory care facilities.
APIC Implementation Guides (formerly Elimination Guides) provide practical, evidence-based strategies for surveillance and elimination of infection. Implementation Guides are created to provide infection preventionists with practical, how-to information and online tools and resources that encompass the latest research and regulatory requirements. Open access ensures that this information, critical to the care of patients, is available to the widest possible audience.