Environmental scan of infection prevention and control practices for containment of hospital-acquired infectious disease outbreaks in acute care hospital settings across Canada

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Abstract

Background:

Ward closure is a method of controlling hospital-acquired infectious diseases outbreaks and is often coupled with other practices. However, the value and efficacy of ward closures remains uncertain.

Purpose:

To understand the current practices and perceptions with respect to ward closure for hospital-acquired infectious disease outbreaks in acute care hospital settings across Canada.

Methods:

A Web-based environmental scan survey was developed by a team of infection prevention and control (IPC) experts and distributed to 235 IPC professionals at acute care sites across Canada. Data were analyzed using a mixed-methods approach of descriptive statistics and thematic analysis.

Results:

A total of 110 completed responses showed that 70% of sites reported at least 1 outbreak during 2013, 44% of these sites reported the use of ward closure. Ward closure was considered an “appropriate,” “sometimes appropriate,” or “not appropriate” strategy to control outbreaks by 50%, 45%, and 5% of participants, respectively. System capacity issues and overall risk assessment were main factors influencing the decision to close hospital wards following an outbreak.

Discussion:

Results suggest the use of ward closure for containment of hospital-acquired infectious disease outbreaks in Canadian acute care health settings is mixed, with outbreak control methods varying. The successful implementation of ward closure was dependent on overall support for the IPC team within hospital administration.

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