Standardizing Cleaning Protocols Across the Care Continuum

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Brooke Hossfeld MPH, CIC, MLS (ASCP)CM presented the need for standardized infection prevention protocols across health care settings, addressing challenges from retiring workers to HAIs infections in outpatient facilities at APIC24.

Even with changes in health care, retiring workers, and more ambulatory facilities, infection prevention must start at home and continue throughout the health care journey.

A presentation, “From Chaos to Consistency: The Power of Standardized Cleaning Protocols,” at the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) 2024 Annual Conference & Exposition held from June 3 to 5 in San Antonio, Texas, discussed the standardization of infection prevention throughout the continuum of care from acute care, ambulatory surgical centers, long-term acute care, skilled nursing, rehab, and through to senior facilities.

At the APIC Conference, Infection Control Today® (ICT®) spoke with Brooke Hossfeld, MPH, CIC, MLS (ASCP)CM, an infection prevention specialist and health care epidemiologist for Sodexo Healthcare, in Boca Raton, Florida.

ICT: Please tell ICT’s audience about your presentation here at APIC24.

Brooke Hossfeld, MPH, CIC, MLS (ASCP)CM: The exhibitor theater presentation that I did this year at APIC was called from chaos to consistency and the case for standardization of environmental services across the continuum of care. And really, some of the main takeaways are just looking at the changes in patient population and the labor challenges for health care with seeing so many of the baby boomers retiring, leaving the health care workforce, moving into outpatient facilities such as skilled nursing facilities, long-term care facilities, and the strain that is going to be putting on our overall health care system and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid payments.

Looking at how these patients are being treated in these outpatient areas, things like health care-associated infections (HAIs) do not go away just because you are in an outpatient area. So [I am] focusing on looking at infection prevention surveillance, infection prevention standardized operating procedures, and looking at standardizing environmental services and environmental infection prevention.

Brooke Hossfeld, MPH, CIC, MLS (ASCP)CM with Infection Control Today's Tori Whitacre Martonicz

Brooke Hossfeld, MPH, CIC, MLS (ASCP)CM with Infection Control Today's Tori Whitacre Martonicz

The same way that we're cleaning and disinfecting inpatient spaces is the same way that we are going to be cleaning and disinfecting outpatient services and outpatient areas. It is that seamless transition and that continuum of care that you see areas of inpatient sites being cleaned the same way as outpatient sites. We're really trying to prevent the transmission of HAIs and the movement of patients who have HAIs between inpatient and outpatient sites.

ICT: What is your favorite thing about coming to the APIC Annual Conference?

BH: One of the things that I love about coming to APIC every year is just to learn about the trends and the upcoming hot-button issues that you hear a lot about at these conferences. A few years ago, with mattresses, and then it was COVID-19, and then it was Candida auris, and now it is water testing. It is always keeping you on your toes with making sure that you know these new regulations, and you're familiar with them, and then you're able to put them into practice at your facilities.

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