News & Innovation
Achieving infection prevention and control – The Portuguese Experience
May 23, 2022
Creating a culture of awareness and action – Dr. Cristina Nunez, MD, FICE Bragança Hospital, Portugal.
Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are extracting a huge toll on human lives. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) reports that the total annual number of patients with at least one HAI in acute care hospitals in the European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA) and Croatia is estimated to be about 3.2 million.1
In Portugal, the prevalence of HAIs was higher (10.5%) than the European average (6%) during 2011-2012.1 To counter this, in 2015, the Portuguese National Health System and Ministry of Health initiated a National Priority Program2 aimed at reducing HAIs, promoting the use of antimicrobials and decreasing anti-microbial resistance. The program, called the Stop Hospital Infection program, involved 12 health centres (19 hospitals) and aimed to reduce infection rates by 50% over three years (2015-2018).3
In this BD-sponsored webinar, Dr.Cristina Nunez, MD presents the program and its achievements.
The Portuguese STOP Hospital Infection prevention and control program
The Portuguese STOP Hospital Infection Program was implemented in two phases. As a part of the first phase (Phase 1), care bundles and practices for central venous catheter (CVC) insertion and maintenance were implemented. Complete adherence to these practices by the nurses and hospital staff was achieved within a few months. The recording of the bundle interventions was made electronic, resulting in huge improvements. Annual cost savings also resulted as a consequence.
The program, which involved hospital stakeholders, the patients and their families, resulted in changes not just in the procedures but also in how the teams worked together and in the improvement of their skills.
A lot of barriers needed to be overcome in this infection prevention and control program. Important among these were the changes in cultural patterns, lack of education on infection control, the lack of an effective infection control program, old infrastructure and the lack of involvement by the senior leadership.
The second phase (Phase 2) was implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic. This involved a 35% increase in team strength and a rise in the number of beds. Increases in infection rate, as well as CVC usage, were reported. The program was also expanded to more hospitals. Changes were made in the care bundles, and continuous learning programs were also implemented during this phase.
Wish to learn more about the benefits that were brought by the STOP Hospital Infection Program in Portugal? Watch the webinar by Dr. Nunez!
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1 European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Point prevalence survey of healthcare-associated infections and antimicrobial use in European acute care hospitals. Stockholm: ECDC; 2013.
2 Portuguese Ministry of Health, Office of the Assistant Secretary of State, Order no. 15423/2013. Date of publication: 18 November 2013.
3 Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian (Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation). Executive Committee Challenge STOP Hospital Infection at https://gulbenkian.pt/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/desafio_infecoes_web.pdf. Date of publication: May 2018.
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