Infection control is a vital element in preventing health care-associated infections. Every hospital and health care institutions have various guidelines, policies and procedures regarding infection control. Because nurses are in direct contact with the patient and are the front liners in providing health care, they are the primary agents in implementing the institution's infection control guidelines. However since patient care is multidisciplinary, all health care staff involved on patient care plays a role in infection control. Bermann and Snyder (2012) stated that all health care organizations must have an interdisciplinary infection control committee wherein representatives from the clinical laboratory, housekeeping, maintenance, dietary and other client areas participate.
Health care-associated infections are infections that develop at a hospital or other patient care facility. It is acquired by the patient during hospital stay and it can manifest during or after the patient is hospitalized. The microorganisms that cause these infections may come from various sources within the hospital. It may originate from the patient himself or from the hospital environment. It can affect patients of all ages and of all cases. The most susceptible to these kinds of infections are those patients who are immunocompromised.
One study found that "health care-associated infections have received increasing attention in recent years and are believed to involve about 2 million clients per year" (Bermann and Snyder, 2012).
Of every 100 hospitalized patients at any given time, 7 in developed and 10 in developing countries will acquire at least one health care-associated infection. It is estimated that close to 6 million incidents are reported every year in the United States, Europe and Japan but the situation is worse in developing nations. In Southeast Asia, health care-associated infections affect some 8.7 percent of hospital patients and the region has the highest frequency of people suffering from infectious complications acquired in healthcare facilities. (WHO, 2014)
Limited data, often of law quality, are available from low and middle income countries. According to the Secretary of the Department of Health Philippines, Dr. Enrique Ona (2012), there is a need to come up with the policies that will prevent and control health care-associated infection in health care facilities. "Infections acquired in health care settings are among the major causes of death and increased morbidity among hospitalized patients. This is significant burden for both the patient and for public health", he stated.
In the study locale, documented cases of health care-associated infections are to 2-4 infected patients per month with infection rates of 1%-1.75% per month. In the year 2012, infection rate per month ranged from 0.33% to 0.7%. The succeeding year 2013, infection rate became higher which ranged from 0.31% to 1.75%. This data is based on the hospital's monthly infection surveillance report (2013).
In order to minimize health care-associated infections, hospital staff must be competent in knowledge and skills regarding their respective institution's infection control policies and procedures. Competence defined within the occupational standards framework means that one has the relevant knowledge that underpins the clinical task, which he/she clearly understands and has internally synthesized, and for which he/she has gained the dexterity of skill and the necessary experience (Basford and Slevin, 2010). Furthermore, all pertinent hospital staff must also be compliant with the institution's infection control policies and procedures. If there is no compliance, protocols established will be ineffective.
Therefore, it is important to study the competence and compliance of hospital staff, including non-nursing staff to the institution's infection control policies and procedures. It is indispensable in the care of patients.