Deakin University

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Experience and perspectives of infection prevention staff of the COVID-19 response in Australian hospitals

journal contribution
posted on 2023-02-28, 01:17 authored by A Baswa, Philip RussoPhilip Russo, J S Doyle, D Ayton, Andrew J. Stewardson
Background: Hospital infection prevention and control (IPC) staff have played a key role in adapting and implementing jurisdictional COVID-19 policy during the current pandemic. We aimed to describe the experiences of IPC staff in Australian hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic to inform future pandemic preparedness plans. Methods: A cross-sectional study involving an online survey distributed to IPC practitioners employed in Australian hospitals. Survey content was informed by in-depth interviews, and addressed work conditions, redeployed workforce, personal protective equipment, communication, and guidelines. Participants were recruited through the mailing lists of Australasian College of Infection Prevention and Control and the Australasian Society of Infectious Diseases. Results: We received fully or partially completed responses from 160 participants, including 38 (24%) and 122 (76%) with nursing and medical backgrounds, respectively. Respondents reported access to sufficient information about PPE (75%, 114/152), PPE was of sufficient quantity (77%, 117/152) and was of sufficient quality (70%, 106/152). Barriers to infection prevention guideline implementation included frequently changing guidelines (57%, 84/148), timing of updates (65%, 96/148) and contradictory sources of information (64%, 95/148). Respondents described a need for better communication channels from government authorities to hospital IPC teams. All respondents described an increase in workload leading to difficulty completing work (63%, 97/154) and feeling burnt out (48%, 74/154). Conclusions: These data identify avoidable barriers to implementation of COVID-19 infection prevention guidance in Australian hospitals. These findings can inform future national preparedness strategies.



Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control