Infection Prevention Awareness Week  

The important role infection preventionists play in keeping us all safe has been brought to the forefront of our lives this year. COVID-19 has challenged healthcare workers from all disciplines, but perhaps none more so than infection prevention teams.  

Who knew 2020 would be the year PPE and hand hygiene would become terms used every day in the media and in our community.  

Last week we celebrated Infection Prevention Awareness Week and encouraged people to take a moment to appreciate the hardworking infection preventionists who have led the way in this pandemic. It also reminded us to implement their advice!  

At Monash Health, our Infection Prevention team have worked tirelessly to keep us safe. Led by Professor Rhonda Stuart, Medical Director, Infection Prevention and Epidemiology, the team quickly became central to the COVID-19 response as it emerged early in the year. They have been flexible in adapting to the unpredictable challenges the pandemic has posed and continue to implement best practices to maintain safe healthcare environments across all our sites. 

While we may be in the midst of a pandemic, other health concerns remain active, including the flu. The team has been instrumental in achieving a flu vaccination rate of over 90% amongst Monash Health employees, the highest rate we have achieved to date. They also ensure that more common infection prevention techniques remain sound practice in our clinical areas. 

By working through the unexpected challenges that have arisen throughout the pandemic, the team has continued to learn more about infection prevention. Dealing with a new and novel infectious virus has posed various unique challenges. Conveying prevention and safety techniques precisely, and on a large scale, can be another challenge in itself. The team has successfully implemented numerous changes to Personal Protective Equipment and the way we interact with patients over the last few months and will continue to do so as the need arises.  

Something that has been continually highlighted throughout, and well before, the pandemic is that basic infection prevention practices work“Basic infection prevention strategies, such as Hand Hygiene and PPE, are effective. This is demonstrated by low transmission rates” says Anita Lovegrove, Manager of Infection Prevention.  

Professor Rhonda Stuart spoke to the work being done across our organisation: 

“The teamwork that has occurred within the Infection Prevention unit mirrors what has occurred across the health service in general. Remaining flexible and being open to deal with new challenges has allowed us all to tackle this pandemic and provide ongoing safety for our healthcare workers and quality care for our patients.” 

Thank you to each member of our Infection Prevention and Control team for their tireless efforts and steadfast dedication to ensuring the safety of our employees, patients and the wider community.

Approved by Rhonda Stuart

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