Story Posted: 2023-04-19

Our friends in Infection Prevention and Control

Originally published in The Lifeline, the St. Paul’s Hospital Staff Newsletter.

The staff of Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) want you to know two things:

  1. They do not have as much control as you think; and,
  2. They like treats and desserts and are not afraid to take the biggest pieces.

In an e-mail interview, Melayna and Amanda answered a few questions about the role of IPC and some myths about their office.

IPC sees their role very simply as providing staff with the tools they need to prevent patients from getting infections while in hospital through education and policies. They work with the units to make sure patients are on the right additional precautions and assist them in managing outbreaks. They also work with construction teams to help with the design of new projects and during construction to prevent dust and molds from leaving the construction zone.

When COVID struck, their job changed drastically. “When COVID first started we were the people who were supposed to have answers to everything before the questions were even asked. Most other things in our daily work were pushed to the corner of our desks and sat there for months. We had a lot of information to disseminate,” said Melayna.

“Everything had to be developed provincially so a lot of the time our answers had to be, ‘I don’t know yet’ or ‘right now do X but tomorrow you’ll have to do Y’,” said Amanda.

The amount of paperwork they had to do increased substantially. At the beginning, every patient who came into the hospital with COVID required a 14-page form completed, then it changed to ten, then to eight and now it’s a 5-page form they only have to do if they get COVID during their stay.

“There were days where we would complete forms on 20+ patients a day and then do it again the next day.”

As we transition into a world where COVID is not the primary priority, IPC sees their road ahead as rebuilding relationships.

“We don’t always say no to everything and sometimes our department name gets used on things that we haven’t been consulted about,” they noted. “With policies changing so rapidly back and forth I think we lost some trust in what we do and that will likely take time to recover. “


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