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Policy Updated for Infection Prevention in Pediatric Clinics
Little Rock, Ark. – The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently updated its policy regarding healthcare-acquired infections and antibiotic use in pediatric care settings. The new recommendations highlight: the basic but critical role of handwashing and cough etiquette; antibiotic restraint for respiratory, throat, urinary, and ear infections; communication with caregivers, community members and other health organizations; and improved cleaning and safety procedures in clinics.
This is the first update to the AAP “Infection Prevention and Control in Pediatric Ambulatory Settings” policy since 2007. In the last decade, the White House, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and multiple other groups have prioritized the prevention of infections in healthcare settings.
“These updated guidelines for offices of pediatricians are timely and welcome,” said Dr. Gary Wheeler, Chief Medical Officer at ADH and member of the AAP. “We need new efforts by individual providers to limit the transmission of germs in their offices, particularly drug-resistant organisms, and limit the inappropriate use of antibiotics. We never want a child to leave the doctor’s office sicker than she was when she went in.”
Arkansas has made great progress in reducing the rates of hospital-acquired infections; however, the CDC reports the state still has one of the highest rates of antibiotic use per capita. These numbers indicate that every Arkansan receives at least one antibiotic per year. The important partnerships between the healthcare and public health community will continue to help close the gap.
According to Kelley Garner, MPH, ADH Healthcare-Associated Infections Program Coordinator, “our partnerships in Arkansas are invaluable. All healthcare facilities play an important role in the health of the community, and doctors’ offices are a critical component of the healthcare network. There is a lot of work ahead but we are making progress.”
Over the last three years, with funding from the CDC, ADH has worked to reduce transmission of germs to patients during hospitalization and to reduce the overuse of antibiotics. Efforts have included increasing medical and support staff, coordinating an infection reporting and analysis system, holding multiple workshops and teleconferences for healthcare providers, and making dozens of visits to hospitals, nursing homes and long-term care facilities to assist in outbreak containment and on-site education. ADH has partnered with CDC and multiple groups including the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, the Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care, and the Arkansas Hospital Association to help patients have safer encounters with health care providers.
The AAP policy update supports ADH’s efforts and gives clinics concrete recommendations for best practices. You can read the policy update at www.aap.org.