AR Investments at Work: Protecting Patients and Healthcare Personnel from COVID-19
Posted On: December 2021
- CDC is investing in partner initiatives for infection prevention and control (IPC) practices in hospitals, long-term acute care facilities, and nursing homes. These IPC investments are proving to be integral in reducing the spread of antibiotic-resistant pathogens and other infectious disease threats, including the virus that causes COVID-19, within healthcare facilities.
- Between April and December 2020, the Shared Healthcare Intervention to Eliminate Life-threatening Dissemination of Multidrug-Resistant Organisms (SHIELD) IPC program helped reduce COVID-19 illness among healthcare personnel and nursing home residents by 30% to 40% across the facilities.
- SHIELD is a partnership between University of California, Irvine Health (UCI Health) and the National Association of City and County Health Officials (NACCHO) that has improved healthcare quality through IPC in Orange County, California.
Successful IPC practices—such as proper handwashing and cleaning of rooms and equipment—require time and investment by healthcare facilities and workers. When IPC practices are implemented and followed, they work as the first line of defense to prevent the spread of infections that can be harmful to human health. Proper IPC practices helped reduce deaths caused by antibiotic-resistant infections by 18% overall and nearly 30% in U.S. hospitals between 2013 and 2019.
CDC builds on IPC successes through its Antibiotic Resistance Solutions Initiative. The initiative invests in organizations implementing IPC practices in hospitals, long-term acute care facilities, and nursing homes. These IPC investments are proving to be integral in reducing the spread of antibiotic-resistant pathogens, and most recently, the virus that causes COVID-19, within healthcare facilities.
In Orange County, California, the Shared Healthcare Intervention to Eliminate Life-threatening Dissemination of Multidrug-Resistant Organisms (SHIELD)—a CDC-funded, University of California, Irvine Health (UCI Health) system program in partnership with the National Association of City and County Health Officials (NACCHO) to improve healthcare quality in the region—is demonstrating the impacts of its successful IPC practices. In the early days of the COVID-19 spread in April 2020, SHIELD was called on by the Orange County Health Care Agency and CalOptima, the county’s Medicaid insurer, to form a COVID-19 prevention team to stop the climbing number of COVID-19 illnesses and deaths in Orange County nursing homes.
The SHIELD team went to work, leveraging its years of IPC expertise and CDC-supported research to develop a comprehensive, evidence-based training program to prevent the emergence and spread of antibiotic-resistant infections as well as to fight COVID-19. The program provided more than 200 hours of on-site trainings between the SHIELD team and nursing home personnel. Efforts included demonstrating recommended IPC practices, setting up help lines to answer questions, and providing feedback on safe and unsafe behavior, ultimately integrating IPC practices into the facility and workforce culture.
By December 2020, SHIELD’s IPC practices contributed to the reduction of COVID-19 infections among both healthcare personnel and nursing home residents by 30% to 40% across facilitiesexternal icon. The success of SHIELD’s initiative underscores that effective IPC can reduce life-threatening infections and that everyone has a role to play, especially during a pandemic. Effective IPC practices require dedicated staff, time, training, and on-the-ground support to healthcare facilities and personnel.
Since its start in 2016, SHIELD has grown through the investments of CDC’s Antibiotic Resistance Solutions Initiative and technical expertise provided by CDC’s Safety and Healthcare Epidemiology Prevention Research Development (SHEPheRD)—a program that awarded 35 U.S. organizations to develop and conduct research on innovative prevention projects on healthcare safety. Since 2019, CDC has also supported NACCHO to collaborate with the SHIELD team at UCI, Orange County Healthcare Agency, and CalOptima, strengthening the impact of SHIELD’s IPC practices to prevent antibiotic-resistant infections, and now, other infectious disease threats.
CDC stays on the forefront of innovative IPC solutions thanks to partners such as SHIELD, who use and evaluate evidence-based strategies that protect patients, healthcare personnel, and the community. Learn more about how CDC works with partners on prevention innovations pdf icon[PDF – 4 pages] and how these investments are helping stop the spread of threats, such as antibiotic resistance and COVID-19 pdf icon[PDF – 2 pages].