In Canada, there are a growing number of health care-associated infections (HAIs) leading to preventable deaths. Infection Prevention and Control Professionals (ICPs) are part of the team working to help prevent occurrence of HAIs and, as a result, improve quality and patient safety across the care continuum.

An ICP is someone who has responsibility in their work setting for the development, implementation, education, and evaluation of policies, procedures, and practices to prevent HAIs. To do this successfully, ICPs must be aware of current infection control evidence and standards, and work to ensure practices are implemented and standards maintained within their health care settings. This is done, in part, through consultation, education, monitoring and measurement, advocacy for best practices nationally and provincially, and auditing of such practices locally, including hand hygiene.

Currently, a key focus in infection control is antimicrobial resistance, which is a serious public health issue around the world. To win this fight, more attention and collaboration are required nationally to tackle the issue here in Canada. Part of that collaboration includes your role to use antibiotics sensibly — not everything is fixed by taking antibiotics! Discuss the safe use of antibiotics with your health care provider. Additionally, you can protect yourself and others from acquiring infection by cleaning your hands often, getting vaccinated, and staying at home if you have signs or symptoms of infection.