For the country’s biggest government tertiary hospital that sees more than half a million patients a year, one of the major problems that may mean life or death among patients, caregivers, and health workers is its ability to prevent and control infections.
In this aspect, the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) has proven that with appropriate and cost-effective strategies and consistent implementation, it can achieve success as measured by the three year-in-a row awards given by the Philippine Hospital Association (PHA).
In November 2016, the PGH was recently chosen runner up in three categories for Level 3 hospitals. These are Best in Management of Infection Prevention Among Healthcare Workers, Best in Isolation Precaution Management, and Best in Outbreak Management. In 2015, PGH was awarded 2nd runner up in infection prevention and control among Level 3 hospitals and garnered two special awards, “Best in Hand Hygiene” and “Best in the Management of Hospital Infection Prevention among Health Care Workers.”
The PGH Hospital Infection and Control Unit (HICU) started from a small committee and has grown into a regular unit that is now recognized consistently in the field of infection prevention and control. Its main strategies include the following:
- Engaging the PGH health care workers to follow Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) and become HEALerS to make IPC part of the PGH culture. HEALS stands for the five pillars forming the core of IPC: Hand Hygiene, Environmental Disinfection, Antibiotic Stewardship, Lowering of Hospital-acquired Infections (HAIS) through Bundles, and Safety of Patients and Hospital Staff;
- IPC policy development and updating that entails consultation-based and clearly-written memoranda on hospital policies that leads to the acceptance and successful implementation of the policy components. Among the major HICU policies in recent years were the Hand Hygiene Update October 2016; PGH Antibiotic Stewardship Policy October 2016; Guidelines on the Management of Healthcare Workers With Bloodborne Infections including HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C, April 2015; and MERSCoVirus PGH Response Update, July 2015;
- Comprehensive program to reduce HAIs through groupings of best practices meant to be implemented together to prevent infection. Examples of this are the use of the Ventilator associated pneumonia prevention bundle and the Urinary Tract Infection prevention bundle that are now well placed in all ICUs and wards; Central Line Infection prevention bundle that is 100% observed at the Operating Room; and a new MDRO bundle implemented hospital-wide in 2016 that is designed to limit transmission of MDROs and which requires health workers to practice 100% hand hygiene, 100% gloving, and 100% use of only dedicated instruments;
- Comprehensive program to manage and control the spread of Tuberculosis. With the TB DOTS as partner and with over 1,500 TB cases seen annually at the PGH, its implementation is aligned with the World Health Organization guidelines for facility safety through administrative and environmental controls, such as good isolation rooms and use of protective N95 masks;
- Oversight of material purchase for Infection Control ensures that all the necessary equipment and ma-terials, including those for hand hygiene, patient safety and healthcare worker safety are adequately provided in terms of quantity and quality.