Infection Control Staff Competency - Anglican Care Kilpatrick Court
Infection prevention and control is the responsibility of all staff of a residential aged care home. Each staff member has an important role to play in understanding the causes of infection, how they can be spread, recognising possible signs and symptoms of infections and effective practices required to prevent and manage the spread of infection. It is important for residential aged care homes to ensure staff have the skills and knowledge required to comply with infection control policies and procedures to ensure the safety of residents, staff and visitors. The provision of regular infection control training and competency assessments will increase staff awareness in infection prevention and control and assist the home to monitor and identify additional staff education requirements to prevent and minimise infections.
Kilpatrick Court is a new purpose built 147 bed Anglican Care residential aged care home located in Toronto, South of Newcastle. The home was officially opened on the 3rd of May 2017 and has been architecturally designed to offer an environment of wellbeing and happiness, facilitating opportunities for social interaction and time outdoors. In 2017 Kilpatrick Court was recognised with a NSW Excellence in Aged Care Award from the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA). Anglican Care has commenced planning stage two of the development which will include retirement living villas next to the existing home. Debbie Ryan, Residential Care Manager at Kilpatrick Court shares their strategies which have proven to be successful in increasing staff participation and competency in infection prevention and control.
What We Did - Our Strategies
We provide staff with regular training on infection prevention and control including mandatory education at least once a year and e-learning. We were due to undertake the QPS Competency Testing for Infection Control. I identified that staff had not received recent specific training in relation to the topic and this became a major focus in November/December 2017 for our home. From previous experience with questionnaires I found staff often got the same questions wrong time and time again. Follow up after the questionnaire did not seem to provide a change in their responses when the questionnaire was delivered at a later date with a long time lapse between the follow up and the next competency. So they didn’t remember the correct processes.
I commenced tool box talks with the staff going through the infection control processes. We discussed why certain answers were required and how it impacted on minimising infections if the correct protocols were followed.
I went from unit to unit each shift over a few days to be able to educate as many staff as possible in small groups. Following the training the staff then undertook the competency test, some staff completed the assessment independently and others with support from one another which assisted in improving each other’s knowledge base. I encouraged the collaboration of staff and found this improved their discussions and comprehension.
I identified there were some staff who had poor literacy skills, one who was illiterate and the questions needed explanation. They often knew the right answers but needed support in their comprehension. For this group I read the questions to them and they responded with their answers.
There were a couple of staff who disregarded the competency but I went to the unit on their next working shift and asked when they would be returning their test and explained the importance of the assessment. I also expressed that it needed to be returned on the shift they were working.
I ensured all staff had their name on the top of the competency assessment and kept a list of all staff for the return of the competency. This enabled me to provide individual staff with feedback on their performance and identify the areas where further training is required to increase their competency. The areas of the competency assessment where staff did not attain 100% compliance will be incorporated into our infection control training.
Increased Staff Participation & Competency Result
I found staff to make comment on how this process greatly assisted them in completing the competency assessment and improved their knowledge in the area of infection prevention and control. Our staff participation rate for the QPS Competency Test for Infection Control almost tripled with all staff completing the competency assessment with the exception of staff who were on leave at the time. The overall result also improved significantly by 16.80% to attain almost full compliance (98.99%) and performed above the QPS industry benchmark.
Infection Control Strategies Implemented
During this process we also took the opportunity to make some infection control improvements within the facility. We placed discreet pictures of yellow daffodils above the room number for residents with infections and purple tulips for residents on cytotoxics so staff, particularly cleaners, catering, maintenance etc could easily identify where specific infection control, PPE measures or cleaning practices were required.
Our focus became Infection Control for the period and we have identified a number of other opportunities for improvement in this area.
Debbie Ryan, Residential Care Manager