Provincial Infection Prevention and Control Program
Events like SARS in Ontario, resistant C.difficile in Quebec, the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, and the increasing rates across Canada of Antibiotic Resistant Organisms like MRSA, have shown us that our health system can be vulnerable to infectious diseases. The Department of Health and Wellness in Prince Edward Island has responded to this vulnerability by developing a provincial Infection Prevention and Control Program to help prevent and control the spread of infectious diseases.
The overall goal of the program is to strengthen the health system’s ability to deal effectively with current and emerging diseases and ultimately protect the health and safety of Islanders.
Specifically the Program aims to:
1. Strengthen infection prevention and control capacity
2. Provide clear accountability
3. Develop and monitor Provincial Standards/Guidelines/Policies
4. Provide education and training to staff
5. Continue to develop and maintain our system for surveillance and reporting
6. Provide provincial coordination
Infection prevention and control practitioners (ICPs) have specialized training in the identification, investigation, prevention, and control of disease and infection as well as outbreak management. There are now (ICPs) in all facilities (Acute Care, Community Hospitals, and Long Term Care) in Health PEI. The program is coordinated by a provincial coordinator situated in the Chief Public Health Office. The coordinator also provides consultation to those areas that don’t have a designated ICP.
Surveillance is the cornerstone of an infection prevention and control program. Surveillance data gives the practitioner a clear picture of what is happening within their facilities, identifying clusters or outbreaks of organisms and infections. Keeping track of infection rates ensures patient safety. When data is collected and analyzed from sites across the province, it is possible to set provincial priorities for education and interventions.
In PEI we are closely monitoring the antimicrobial resistant organisms Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Vancomycin - resistant Enterococci (VRE) as well as Clostridium difficile (C.difficile) which is a significant cause of health care associated diarrhea. Information about these organisms in PEI can be found in the Infection Prevention and Control Annual Surveillance Report.