A systematic approach to quantifying infection prevention staffing and coverage needs.

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American journal of infection control


FTE; Infection prevention staffing; employees; human resources; needs assessment; staffing; staffing models


BACKGROUND: This article describes a large nonprofit health care system's approach at quantifying the actual number of infection preventionist (IP) and relative support staff required to build and sustain effective infection prevention programs.

METHODS: A list of all physical locations within the organization requiring infection prevention coverage were identified via survey, including department-level detail for 34 hospitals, 583 ambulatory sites, and 26 in-home and long-term care programs across 5 states. Required IP activities for each physical location were also tallied by task. Type of activity, frequency (times per year), hours per activity, and total number of locations in which each activity should occur were determined. From this, the number of hours per week of infection prevention labor resources needed was calculated.

RESULTS: Quantitative needs assessment revealed actual labor need to be 31%-66% above current benchmarks of 0.5-1.0 IP per 100 occupied beds. When aggregated across the organization, the comprehensive review results yielded a new benchmark of 1.0 infection prevention full-time equivalent per 69 beds if ambulatory, long-term care, or home care are included.

CONCLUSIONS: Size, scope, services offered, populations cared for, and type of care settings all impact the actual need for IP coverage, making the survey benchmarks available in the literature invalid. A comprehensive assessment of health care organization composition and structure is necessary prior to determining the IP staffing needs for that organization.