From acinetobacter to zygomycosis, Alberta Health Services (AHS) staff now has information to access on how to manage the care for Continuing Care residents who have a known or suspected infectious disease or condition. The Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Resource Manual for Continuing Care is an online, interactive resource developed to support staff in caring for residents living in AHS owned and contracted Continuing Care settings. The disease and condition table information is organized alphabetically, based on either the common or scientific spelling of the disease, condition or microorganism.
“A continuing care facility is the residents’ home and any additional precautions must be balanced with quality of life,” says Brenda Jenkins, Infection Control Professional (North Zone). “A common issue in continuing care facilities is finding a balance between resident safety and providing a “home-like” environment, while understanding the psycho-social risks that may accompany isolation.”
The resource manual contains valuable information on how to effectively manage a wide array of infectious diseases and conditions. For example, selecting the correct Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for resident interactions is critical to a healthy environment. Using a point of care risk assessment (PCRA) flow chart included in the manual, staff can determine what is appropriate for safe resident care.
The one-page disease/condition summaries provide information on clinical presentation, infectious substances, mode of transmission, precautions needed, duration of precautions, incubation period and period of communicability. Links are included throughout the manual to information sheets outlining routine practices or additional (isolation) precautions. The Resource Manual and additional information such as a glove act sheet, N95 respirator for visitors, FAQs, practice scenarios and much more are housed on the Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Continuing Care webpage.
The Resource Manual was developed and is regularly updated by a working group of infection prevention and control professionals responsible for continuing care across Alberta. A similar resource manual had been developed for acute care settings; however, the information was not always applicable, which resulted in a disparity in infection control practices for the 23,246 continuing care beds in the province. A resource manual that focused attention on routine practices and emphasizing point-of-care risk assessments was needed for the Continuing Care Setting. The Resource Manual was developed to include a disease and condition table, information sheets, signs for additional precautions, and an Antibiotic Resistant Organism management guide.
The Resource Manual was launched in November 2013, along with a formal education program to support the roll-out. TeleHealth sessions provided an overview of the Resource Manual and meetings with Directors and Site Managers provided more information on how to effectively use the information.
“We encourage our staff to refer to the information online, rather than printing off a copy only to gather dust on a shelf,” says Brenda Jenkins. “Information is always changing, so we constantly update the Resource Manual. The online version provides quick and easy access to the most current information available.”
The implementation of the resource manual fills a need identified by healthcare workers in continuing care for specific IPC resources. The manual supports safe and effective IPC practices, focuses attention on routine practice emphasizing point-of-care risk assessments and promotes evidence-based practices that acknowledge a continuing care facility is the resident’s home and additional precautions must be balanced with maintaining quality of life.