International Infection Prevention Week (IIPW) is October 20-26, 2013. While we take the time to recognize the important work infection preventionists do every day, this week also brings awareness to the work that still needs to be done. Through this year’s theme, “Infection Prevention and You,” the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) aim to have every healthcare worker, patient and visitor actively doing their part to reduce the healthcare-associated infections.

To date, very little attention has been given to bacterial management of soft surface fabrics compared to infection prevention protocols for hand hygiene and hard surface disinfection. Clinical studies have shown fabrics in healthcare to be contaminated with dangerous bacteria and ignoring them can decrease the effectiveness of the overall infection prevention bundle.

Consider taking time this week to conduct a SWIFT risk assessment in relation to the healthcare laundered fabrics that surround your staff and patients. The “Structured What If Technique” involves evaluating a normal activity, like wearing a uniform, and subjecting that to “What If” situations to identify potential failures and risks. Another important step is to understand the level of staff education on the risks associated with fabrics in your facility as well as evaluating antimicrobial fabric solutions. For a more in-depth look at these techniques download our free whitepaper.

For the current and comprehensive clinical evidence on contamination of soft surfaces, download Infection Control Today’s most recent mini-report“Soft-Surface Contamination in the Patient-Care Environment and Antimicrobial Textiles” at www.infectioncontroltoday.com. The paper discusses how “the use of antimicrobial textiles could be one more useful tool in the arsenal against HAIs.”

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