IPC Pros Helping Other: Engaging Staff Through an Infection Prevention and Control Educational Fair

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In this installment of IPC Pros Helping Each Other, a long-term care infection preventionists in New Hampshire describes the IPC educational fair her facility organized for the rest of the staff. Michele M, director of nursing services, said, “[The educational fair] was a creative and interactive way to engage staff in infection control education.”

IPC Pros Helping Each Other

IPC Pros Helping Each Other

Infection Control Today®’s IPC PROs Helping Each Other series features infection prevention and control professionals at all levels speaking with each other, giving best practices, and telling stories of what has worked—and not worked—for them in their facilities.

Do you have a best practice to share? If so, please send it to tmartonicz@mjhlifesciences.com and help others in the IPC community.

Rockingham County Rehabilitation & Nursing Center and Ernest P. Barka Assisted Living Community's infection preventionist, Lisa Hewett, RN, shared valuable strategies with Infection Control Today® for educating staff on essential infection prevention guidelines.

I am the infection control nurse for a 202-bed senior nursing and long-term care facility in New Hampshire. We currently have a census of 127 residents.

We are always trying to provide some form of education for staff. As I am sure you are aware, it can be difficult to have staff attend educational sessions due to limited time. We set up this infection control education fair along with other educational information tailored to our facility assessment. The room stayed set up for 3 weeks to allow staff to complete it all at once or just portions of it as time allowed. We must be cognizant of their time with everything else they must do. The fair was self-guided so all shifts, including weekends, could participate. Our goal was 100% participation. We reached 97%. Additionally, anyone who was unable to complete the education was provided with reading material and a longer quiz to complete.

We had approximately 230 people participate in the infection room education. This included all departments – nursing (including travel and agency staff), ALF, social services, environmental services, admin staff. Dietary was not part of this as they are a contracted vendor. The event was very popular, and most people really enjoyed it. Most importantly, they had fun while learning. One of the reactions was from Doris C. with environmental services, “I was able to see all the mistakes and learn how to do the right thing.” One of the staff, Sharon V., MNA, said, “It was an interactive way to learn.”

We have a wing that is closed, so I was able to take an empty room and use it to demonstrate infection control breaches, along with tables with educational posters.

For the educational posters, I had:

  • COVID-19 vaccination education, along with free rapid tests to take
  • Antibiotic stewardship
  • Hand hygiene
  • Assorted infection control education, including donning and doffing personal protective equipment

Each poster had 5 questions taken from it to create a quiz, for a total of 25 questions.

Anyone who received a 70% or below will be provided with 1:1 education.

For the infection control breaches, it was considered a challenge to find all 25 areas of concern, and the answers were given in our monthly staff newsletter. I was able to identify 2 areas where further education was needed, and we added this information to the newsletter as well.

Some of the following infection control breaches were in the challenge room:

  1. Overflowing laundry cart
  2. Trash on the floor
  3. Empty hand sanitizer
  4. Dirty linen on the floor
  5. Dentures in the sink
  6. Dirty commode
  7. Urinal on the tray table
  8. Tubing not dated
  9. Oxygen tubing on the floor
  10. Nebulizer mask not in a bag
  11. Dirty dressing on the bed

The staff enjoyed the fair. Michele M., director of nursing services said, “It was a creative and interactive way to engage staff in infection control education.”

Finally, anyone who completed the challenge was entered into a drawing for 5 prizes.

We have come up with additional interactive educational concepts for the future and are eager to see if they will be as well-received as the educational fair.

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