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Budget cutbacks hit infection training, survey finds (DS)

By Jean DerGurahian
Posted: June 9, 2009 – 5:59 am EDT

Education regarding hospital-acquired infections is one of the areas most reduced because of budget cutbacks in hospitals, according to a survey of infection-control specialists by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.

Of 1,943 members who responded to the weeklong online survey in March, 44% said they attend fewer meetings at their hospital because of cutbacks, and 42% said they did not conduct as many walking rounds of hospital units. Reduction in travel has cut back support for attending APIC events, according to 45% of the respondents. The majority of responses came from staff working in acute-care hospitals.

Because of hiring freezes and budget cutbacks, infection-control specialists are taking on more duties that keep them from focusing on prevention, APIC said in the survey. Reducing HAIs should remain a priority for hospital leadership, which will spend more money treating infections than stopping them from occurring in the first place, the organization said.