Alberta's infection prevention and control strategy, 2008 to 2018

Infection prevention and control

Infection prevention and control (IPC) is a term used to describe activities intended to protect individuals from infections. Every day, Albertans prevent and control infections by frequently cleaning their hands, keeping their living and working environments clean and tidy, getting immunized for vaccine preventable diseases and by staying home when sick.

In healthcare settings, IPC measures are enhanced to protect more vulnerable populations from acquiring healthcare-associated infections. These types of infections can increase hospital lengths of stay, cause patient health complications and may even result in death.

The IPC Strategy

In 2008, the Alberta government developed and implemented a 10-year infection prevention and control strategy to provide a provincial, coordinated approach to prevent and control infections. The Alberta IPC Strategy outlines actions to improve IPC across Alberta’s health system and in Alberta communities.

The goals of the strategy are to:

  1. Protect the health of Albertans by preventing and controlling the transmission of infections.
  2. Assure Albertans of the quality of infection control in Alberta by strengthening accountability.

The IPC Strategy had 5 strategic directions listed below. Since 2008, much has been accomplished to meet the goals and objectives of the IPC Strategy.

  1. Accountability and monitoring – the right people properly monitor and address IPC issues as they arise.
    • What has been done – A provincewide IPC Program is in place. Mechanisms are established for monitoring compliance to IPC standards and policies.
  2. Provincewide surveillance – IPC experts monitor current and emerging disease trends.
    • What has been done – A system is in place to track infectious diseases and monitor hand hygiene compliance. This information is used to inform IPC activities in Alberta.
  3. Human resource capacity – a qualified IPC workforce supports the province with quality IPC programs and services.
    • What has been done – Educational resources, policies and guidelines are in place to educate and inform healthcare workers. Certification requirements are in place for staff responsible for sterilization of medical devices.
  4. Physical environment and infrastructure – healthcare environments are safe and minimize the spread of infections.
    • What has been done – IPC principles have been incorporated into guidelines for design, construction and renovation of healthcare facilities and into environmental cleaning guidelines.
  5. Public awareness and education – Albertans understand how infections can occur and spread, and take measures to protect themselves and their families.
    • What has been done – Resources about IPC practices and proper hand hygiene are available on the Alberta government and Alberta Health Services websites.

The IPC Strategy was developed so that Alberta has a strong, effective, and maintained IPC system that protects Albertans against infections. With important IPC functions and services already in place, Alberta Health, Alberta Health Services, and health professions regulatory colleges are now focused on activities that will secure Alberta’s IPC system in the long term. The IPC Strategy will be fully implemented by 2018.

Infection prevention and control publications