Theme: ICPs - The Core of Infection Prevention and Control
The third full week in October is designated as National Infection Control Week (NICW) in Canada and the U.S. In Canada, Infection Control Week originated in 1988 to highlight infection control efforts in Canadian hospitals, long-term care facilities and in the community. It was an opportunity for infection control professionals to educate staff and the community about the importance of infection prevention and to promote the important work that was being done by infection control professionals in a visible and fun way. In 1989 the federal government proclaimed Infection Control Week as an annual event.
This web page is provided by IPAC Canada to assist you in planning and implementing Infection Control Week in your facility. Whether your event spans the entire week or only one day, whether it is large or small, you might find some useful information, tips and tools here to use to help with its success and save you some time and resources.
Good luck and have a successful Infection Control Week!
Proclaim your week with a ready-made media release from IPAC Canada. This media release can be distributed to all media outlets in your area (TV, Radio, Print, Social Marketing) and to your administrator to promote NICW. IPAC Canada will broadcast the media release to national outlets. It is suggested that the media release be sent out or posted 10 days before NICW. Your chapter's contact information should be added to the bottom of the release. In addition, members are invited to use the release, or portions, to promote NICW in their area, adding local contact information to the bottom of the release.
Use the following IPAC Canada Media Release for Infection Control Week. Members are encouraged to personalize this message to their chapter/geographical location and forward it to all media in their area. The name of a local contact should be inserted at the end of the message.
The key to a successful Infection Control Week is associated with providing a variety of activities and maintaining a high level of interest. Success also depends upon getting a wide variety of people or departments actively involved.
Your first task is to designate why your organization should participate in a Infection Control event and what you hope will be achieved. This might be as simple as determining 'goals and objectives' or as formalized as defining a 'mission statement'.
When developing your Mission Statement: a) be realistic - a single focus, done well, can be more effective than attempting to do too much b) consider the current level of practice of staff c) address the priority needs of your organization
Some sample mission statements:
- To create awareness and knowledge of the role of the Infection Control Practitioner/Infection Control Committee
- To promote good hand washing by all staff
- Education and promotion of preventive measures for a specific infectious disease which is of concern in your organization
- Timely Infection Control issues
Keep in mind that, as planning progresses, the Mission Statement will become more precise or enlarged. However, in order to receive approval and authorization to proceed, the effectiveness and credibility of the initial proposal requires a well defined intent.
The next task is to obtain a full mandate from all levels of management in your organization in order to promote the success of the venture:
a) Inform your immediate supervisor of your proposal. Planning and implementing the event will require additional time and effort. Your manager's commitment to assist and, if necessary, to redelegate tasks will allow you to prioritize your involvement.
b) Make a proposal to the Infection Control or a related Committee, according to the administrative framework of your organization. Having obtained a committee consensus, you or the Committee Chair will then approach the Administrator.
c) Obtain approval and authorization from administration. An administrative mandate is essential not only from an organizational aspect, but also to elicit support and participation by Management.
You are now ready to begin planning your event! For more help and suggestions:
Consider a Planning Committee of 4 or 5 people, which is workable and sufficient to delegate tasks. Members may then choose to form small groups to assist them. Having a planning committee distributes the work load and sustains enthusiasm, as it disseminates the mission of the event. Whether your plans are modest or elaborate, you will find it helpful to obtain the assistance of at least one other person. A one-person show is impressive, but quickly leads to burnout (yours!).
a) Selecting the Committee Criteria for selection of committee members are:
- An interest in the project and a willingness to serve
- Representation from various areas of the workplace (e.g. Housekeeping, Food Services, Volunteers, Direct Care)
- Achievers who are known to be well organized
- Persons with desirable talents and/or contacts
- Staff who work well in groups
b) Preplanning the first Committee meeting A well organized meeting sets a precedent and reassures your Committee members that their time will be spent efficiently. Some guidelines:
- Determine which members you prefer to assume specific areas of planning. Approach the members before the meeting to ensure that they are willing to be responsible for the territory
- Appoint a recording secretary to take minutes
- Set a meeting date, time and location that is convenient for all members
- Prepare an agenda for distribution prior to the meeting
c) The agenda Create an agenda to guide discussion and keep the meeting focused. Some items might include:
- Review the initial Mission Statement (goals, objectives).
- If necessary, refine the statement and reach a group consensus.
- Determine who the target group(s) will be (e.g. all staff, a particular department or professional group, students, volunteers, groups outside your organization).
- Set the date and duration of the event. The date may be chosen to coincide with National Infection Control Week and should not conflict with another major event in your organization. The duration will depend on the extent of your project. It may be advisable to plan for one day if this is your initial venture or if time is limited.
- Present and review task lists for each planning group (e.g. scientific/educational, activities, finances, exhibitions/displays, hospitality).
- Circulate task worksheets to each Committee group coordinator. Some samples:
- Fill in tasks as agreed upon by the Committee. Set target dates for tasks. Be realistic but leave sufficient time to obtain responses or to choose alternatives, if necessary. All tasks should be completed and confirmed at least one week prior to the event.
- Determine the number and frequency of meetings which will be required.
- Set a date for the next meeting.
d) Follow-up Provide leadership and throughput to your Committee
- Circulate minutes to members.
- Keep appropriate management personnel informed of the progression of plans.
- Revise the task worksheets for distribution to each Committee group coordinator.
- Don't forget your own task list! Keep in touch with the Planning Committee members.
- Liaise and coordinate. Problem-solve.
- Consistently acknowledge the achievements of your Committee. Show your appreciation.
- Maintain the meeting format throughout the planning process.
How will you promote your event? What is the message? Who will you target? How will you advertise? All of these questions must be asked so that your hard work will result in the success it deserves! Some suggestions:
a) Target The characteristics of the target group will have a direct bearing on the content, format and distribution of publicity
- Location of the event is important. As the target group expands from in-house to include other organizations and the public, the amount of information, use of advertising tools and scope of circulation will broaden.
- Size and diversity of the event will determine the need for wider advertising to reach more individuals as well as key members.
- Identification of the knowledge base and needs of the target group will determine the content and format of publicity (e.g. use of technical language vs. non-technical language; function and job relevance; most frequent modes of communication used).
b) The message In style and content the message should:
- Communicate the mandate i.e. purpose, goals, objectives - of the event. The use of themes and slogans will highlight this.
- Create awareness and educate through informative statements.
- Invite active participation.
- Provide notification of presentations and activities (e.g. dates, times, locations, titles, summary of content, names of speakers, panel members, exhibitors, sponsors, etc.)
- Be simple and direct.
- Be brief. State no more than three major points concerning the topic.
- Be clear and comprehensible.
- Be designed to attract and hold the attention of the reader/viewer/listener.
c) Advertising tools
- Word of mouth is the most effective (and least expensive) form of advertising and is suitable for in-house promotion (e.g. conversations, public address announcements, agenda item at meetings)
- Circulars can include memos, bulletins, flyers, pamphlets and Email. The material should be neat and well designed, with a good layout. Bright colours attract attention. The use of humour helps people remember what they read.
- Tent cards can be placed on cafeteria tables, with your logo and theme on the outside, and Infection Control facts or questions on the inside.
- Posters are used to quickly attract attention, both in-house and externally. They should be prominently displayed. Avoid being overly wordy, which will make the poster appear too "busy". Use logos and pictures to attract attention. Avoid clutter, be sure there is sufficient "white space" around items to set them off. Make your posters large, using print that is easy to read from a distance. Use colour to catch the eye. Don't forget to display IPAC Canada's poster (see top of page).
- Buttons can be used in-house both before and during the event. Buttons immediately invite participation, as the person wearing the button will identify with the cause. Distribute buttons widely. The more buttons worn, the greater the sense of support and unity. Use a logo and a short slogan. Have buttons well designed, simple and colourful.
- Mass media includes written publications, such as newspapers and magazines; radio interviews and advertisements; television advertisements, interviews and documentaries. If you are using mass media, make your initial contacts several weeks ahead. Implementation may involve a number of meetings. Be precise and concise with your request. Meet deadlines. Always listen and follow the guidelines of media personnel - they are the experts!
In most cases, you will require additional funding for your event above that which is available in your department. Here are some tips for finding those extra dollars!
- Appoint one member to receive estimates, prepare financial reports and to act as treasurer.
- Avoid duplication at all times. Potential supporters will not appreciate repetitious canvassing.
- Each group should be responsible for obtaining estimates for their specific area of planning (e.g. public relations, activities).
- The estimates are then submitted to the treasurer who prepares a report of estimated costs for discussion/revision at the next planning meeting.
b) Obtain an overview of requirements
- Public Relations Cost of in-house design and printing vs. purchased service Media advertisements Buttons, posters, displays
- Activities Equipment for games and contests Prizes Refreshments
- Education/Scientific Presentations Speakers who charge a fee Speakers from within the organization or an affiliated agency who will not charge a fee Gifts/honoraria for speakers
- Audiovisual Availability of in-house equipment vs. rentals
c) Obtain estimates Estimate the costs through telephone calls and window shopping. Do not make financial commitments at this time.
d) Costing You now have a goal for fund raising. If met, plans can proceed. If available funds fall short, planning can be revised to avoid over expenditure.
e) Resources for funds There are many sources for funds, don't be afraid to ask!
- In-house An allotment of funds from your departmental or administration budget (it is advisable to make the submission this year for the next fiscal budget) Other departments may be able to assist (e.g. staff training and development, public relations)
- Distributors Many vendors of drugs, soaps, disinfectants and medical/surgical supplies are helpful in planning. They may provide displays, audiovisual material and handouts, as well as financial support. Consult with your purchasing agent for assistance with contacts. And don't forget our patron members!
- Volunteers A submission to your agency's volunteer organization can result in significant participation and support
- Community groups Many community service clubs and organizations are interested in the health and sociological issues of infectious diseases and environmental safety. Financial support may be offered and members may be interested in participating.
- Local businesses Many local businesses have contracts with your facility and are more than willing to assist with products, door prizes or services (e.g. vending companies, office supply outlets, etc.)
Providing education is an ideal way to promote Infection Control Week. Before and during the planning process consider the following basic principles:
- Your theme should determine the major focus of your presentation
- Target Groups
- remember your target groups
- consider their knowledge base, functions and needs
- Learning Strategies
- adult learners have a concentration span of 30 minutes (keep presentations short and have breaks between sessions)
- adults learn by doing (have hands-on demonstrations)
- adults learn through participation (involve staff; have question periods; ask staff to sit on discussion panels)
- receptive learning is increased by an appeal to all senses (vary the formats, such as lectures, films, displays)
- take time to plan, arrange and assess
- be realistic in determining the duration and extent of your presentations
- a small number of activities, well planned and properly presented, can be very effective
- adhere to your schedule (start presentations on time, do not let them run overtime)
- consistently update and review your cost estimates
- if your expectations and your available funds are not in sync, consider alternatives
- Schedule activities to encourage participation by as much staff as possible
- avoid peak work times
- do "reruns" to cover all shifts
- tape presentations for staff who cannot be present
- combine presentations with other activities (e.g. noontime lunch, during meetings)
- keep records of attendance for evaluation purposes
- Consider presentations in hallways and high-traffic areas
- Book presentation sites in writing
- Choose sites of appropriate size - not too small, not too large
- Arrange for sufficient seating
- Fees for speakers will vary with their profiles.
- A well known speaker is a drawing card, but the fee may not be affordable.
- Obtain a firm quote. Ask if personal expenses are included in the fee.
- In-house and associate speakers can be resources whose expertise has never been fully recognized - and they are affordable!
- Contact your peers. You may be able to share the cost of a speaker.
- Consider having the speaker sponsored by industry.
- Book speakers and confirm the engagement in writing. Request speaker's curriculum vitae for the introductions and ascertain what audiovisual equipment they will require
- Make arrangements such as travel and accommodation for out-of-town speakers if it is required.
- Meet speakers and see to their comfort.
- Send a follow-up letter of appreciation to all presenters.
- Have a contingency plan in case a speaker cancels.
e) Audiovisual aids
- Preview, book and confirm films and videos
- Pre-load electronic presentation material on a laptop prior to the event if possible
- Prepare handouts, overheads and displays that are brief, attractive and legible.
- Be certain the audiovisual equipment is available and working.
This is the time to get carried away and have fun! Activities contribute to the success of your event by promoting your Mission Statement, involving a wide variety of people and inviting participation, resulting in increased learning.
Activities support and enhance the educational components of the event, they should not be the total program. However, if time is limited and resources are scarce, a few activities will generate some interest and enthusiasm for your cause without requiring intensive planning and preparation. Be flexible!
Suggestions for activities:
- Poster contest - for staff, students, patients; display posters in prominent areas; have a panel to judge; display winning entries in a main area and publish winners names in your facility newsletter or newspaper; have an award ceremony
- Slogan contest - hold the contest before the event; circulate the Mission Statement with the announcement of the contest; the winning slogan could become the major theme
- "Trivial Pursuit" game - use pertinent Infection Control questions in a questionnaire or card game; game can be played individually or in groups; develop a score sheet and award small prizes
- Questionnaire/Q&A Cards - have questions relating to practices, policies and procedures completed by individuals who stop by your display, and award prizes to those who answer all the questions correctly. This is a good way to check the level of knowledge and pinpoint trouble areas. Or leave cards in coffee rooms and lounges.
- Colouring contest for Pediatrics - design and photocopy a picture for children to colour; display pictures and have them judged; award prizes to winner and participants
- Skits - consider a theatre interlude with groups of staff scripting and performing a short skit or singing an Infection Control song. How about an isolation garb fashion show?
- Theme character - dress up as a humorous "bug" and visit the ward areas and departments (e.g. "Gertie Grunge", "Infector Inspector"). This is particularly good for Paediatric areas.
- Test your handwashing skills - have participants check how well they have washed their hands using "glow in the dark" powders and solutions, available from various companies. Or have them don gloves and then wash with coloured finger-paint, to see where they have missed.
- Handwashing cards - have staff carry handwashing cards to mark each time they wash their hands during a shift. Put cards in a box for a draw. This raises awareness of how many times hands should be washed in a day.
- Hands that Care - take photographs of the hands and faces of various prominent individuals in your facility, then paste them onto a poster. Have people try to match the hands with the faces, with a prize to the winner.
- Exhibitors - contact your local supply representatives, they might be interested in setting up display booths, and are great sources for giveaway items, buttons etc. Tours - arrange a tour of your department, laboratories, etc.; set up displays and demonstrations. Don't forget refreshments!
- Poems - put an Infection Control poem in your facility newsletter or paper or hold a contest to create a poem
- Puzzles & Word Games - put an Infection Control puzzle or word game in your facility newsletter or paper or provide puzzles to solve for a prize
- Nutrition breaks - refreshments are a drawing card and provide an opportunity for participants to meet and exchange information; consider scheduling them before, during or after educational presentations, during activities, or during a tour of your department
- Movie Fest - have 15-20 minute films related to infection control running all day or during breaks and mealtimes. Be sure to offer treats (e.g. popcorn).
- Demonstrations - arrange demos on specific techniques such as isolation, gowning, masking and handwashing. Or set up a mock isolation room and critique staff as they go in and perform a "procedure" on a dummy patient, with a prize for the person with the fewest errors in technique.
- Prizes, prizes prizes... - be prepared to give away doorprizes, prizes for contests, prizes for participation etc. Great giveaways are hand creams, hand sanitizers, pens, etc.
An Infection Control display is a great way to highlight an idea or theme, provide educational materials for pickup and to promote Infection Control to the public. You can set up a display within your facility or externally, in malls, health care facilities (e.g. Health Units), office building lobbies etc. A display can be both manned or unmanned, depending on your time availability and resources. Once the initial materials are obtained a display may be used over and over for many years, so it is a very cost-effective way to promote Infection Control.
Set up your display in a high-traffic area, such as lobbies, outside the staff cafeteria or at the main patient entrance. Be sure to check with your safety personnel in case there are restrictions due to fire access (e.g. height, placement of display, etc.).
Try to keep your display uncluttered. Material for the poster boards should follow the theme/Mission Statement and be placed neatly, with clear headings. Secure material well, nothing looks worse than items that are coming loose or falling down. Use a sheet or tablecloth to cover the table that the display will rest on, having it fall down the front of the table to hide table legs. Posters can be pinned to this sheet if necessary.
Buttons and free samples can be placed on the table that the display board sits on, to attract attention and generate interest. This is also a good place to display educational materials such as fact sheets and information brochures. If your display is unmanned, don't forget to check it regularly and replace items that have run out.
Are you or others in your chapter planning something interesting or different? Would you like to share your experiences with others? We would love to hear from you with a description of your event - what did you do, how did you go about it, what worked well and what would you do differently the next time - as well as any useful tools you would like to offer to others to help with future events. Send your summary and information to the IPAC Canada main office, Attention Webmaster.