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Infection Control Among Pediatric Patients at St. Marys Hospital Essay

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Location of Fieldwork

St. Mary’s Hospital For Children

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The community health population

I will be serving children to young adults aged 6 to 18 years old who attend the St. Mary’s Medical Day Program.

Vulnerability of the population

Children are among the most vulnerable groups because they are dependent on caregivers and cannot care for themselves and their health (World Health Organization, 2003). Additionally, children face higher risks of death or complications from diseases because their immune system is not fully developed (Simon, Hollander, & McMichael, 2015). To protect children’s health, it is essential to reduce disease risk, including infections, through various measures.

Community/public health concerns at this site

Infection Control: Prevention and control of infectious diseases while at the Medical Daycare.

One of the leading health concerns that are evident in daycare settings is infectious diseases. Research shows that children in daycare centers are at a higher risk of contracting infections than those who do not (Hedin, Petersson, Cars, Beckman, & Håkansson, 2006). For instance, daycare centers have been home to outbreaks of Hepatitis A, salmonellosis, rotavirus, and many other diseases caused by bacteria and viruses (Lopez, DiLiberto, & McGuckin, 1988). Hence, adequate infection control is required in such settings.

Fieldwork activities related to the focal issue

Firstly, it is essential to understand whether or not staffing levels in the center are adequate. Inadequate staffing and a low nurse-to-patient (caregiver-to-child) ratio might obstruct the implementation of infectious control measures. This is because nurses or caregivers working with children will not have enough time to apply prevention while working with children.

Secondly, fieldwork activities will focus on assessing the education and competency of nursing staff, parents, and guardians with regards to the use of infection control measures. The assessment will focus on the steps included in St. Mary’s Hospital manuals and guidelines, such as hand hygiene, cough hygiene, hand sanitation using alcohol-based rubs, and standard precautions for medical and childcare procedures. According to Herman (1988) and the National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance (NCECQA, 2016), hygiene is among the essential requirements for infectious control in daycare centers. Thus, it is necessary to examine whether nurses, parents, and guardians have enough information to uphold these guidelines.

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Thirdly, considering the availability and use of personal protective equipment could help to determine the level of compliance with internal policies for infection control. St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children (2019a; 2019b) has specific guidelines in place for dining, toy cleaning, and other procedures that require the use of gloves, sanitizers, and PPE. For the staff and visitors to comply with these guidelines, PPE kits and other equipment should be readily available at all times. Inadequate ability might indicate a significant barrier to infectious control.

Planned quality improvement initiative
Leadership initiatives regarding compliance

As part of the quality improvement initiative, it is vital to encourage nurses to become leaders in quality control and compliance. This will help to ensure that they apply infectious control measures in their work while also encouraging others to do so.

Staff knowledge, attitudes, and practice towards policies and procedures

The initiative will also focus on assessing staff knowledge, attitudes, and practices to evaluate the awareness of and compliance with policies and procedures. This is a necessary step to highlight gaps in education or training, as well as to understand possible barriers to improvement. As part of the assessment, it would be beneficial to use interviews, surveys, and observations.

Staff training

Staff training is a crucial component of any quality improvement initiative because the staff has to understand the necessary practice changes to implement them. Staff training is vital when guidelines and manuals are updated on a regular basis. Hence, the daycare center should provide training to nurses on infectious control in daycare settings and repeat the training as necessary if any of the manuals changed.

Barriers to change

There are many factors that could act as barriers to quality improvement, and they must be addressed to ensure success. In the present case, the obstacles to implementation might stem from low staffing rates, inadequate education, and poor accessibility of PPE and cleaning equipment. Evaluating the current situation and making organizational or environmental changes accordingly will improve infection control outcomes in the institution.

Monitoring of staff members’ use of protective equipment during delivery of care

To promote compliance with infectious control measures, the institution should also establish monitoring to assess staff members’ use of protective or sanitizing equipment continuously. This would help to identify barriers in compliance as well as to track progress over time.

Cycle for learning and improvement based on current knowledge and aims

Finally, there is a need to implement a cycle for learning and improvement. To do this, the institutions should assess staff members’ knowledge and training continuously and set goals for future progress. This would help ensure that new rules and requirements are met and that the quality of care remains consistently high.

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Hedin, K., Petersson, C., Cars, H., Beckman, A., & Håkansson, A. (2006). Infection prevention at day-care centres: Feasibility and possible effects of intervention. Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care, 24(1), 44-49.

Herman, D. (1988). Day-care centres: Risks and prevention of infection. Canadian Family Physician, 34, 1191-1195.

Lopez, J., DiLiberto, J., & McGuckin, M. (1988). Infection control in day-care centers: Present and future needs. American Journal of Infection Control, 16(1), 26-29.

National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance. (2016). Prevention and control of infectious diseases. Web.

Simon, A. K., Hollander, G. A., & McMichael, A. (2015). Evolution of the immune system in humans from infancy to old age. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 282(1821), 20143085.

St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children. (2019a). Cleaning of equipment and toys. Bayside, NY: St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children.

St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children. (2019a). Client dining. Bayside, NY: St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children.

World Health Organization. (2003). Healthy environments for children alliance: Framework for action. Web.

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