Engaging patients and families, The theme of this year’s International Infection Prevention Week (IIPW), occurring globally Oct. 18 to 24, recognizes the critical role these stakeholders play in preventing the spread of infection.

IIPW highlights the importance of infection prevention in improving patient safety. This year’s theme promotes dialogue between patients and families and health care professionals. To help foster an open environment for conversation, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) – sponsor of the annual IIPW effort – created informational materials for consumers on hand hygiene.

Infection control through simple efforts, such as proper hand hygiene, can have a great impact on outcomes. Healthcare-associated infections, which may include catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI), central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI), and Clostridium difficile, can be serious or life-threatening, in some cases. Recognizing the importance of hand hygiene, many member hospitals have already taken steps to improve hand hygiene among their staff, including by launching handwashing campaigns and adopting tools to track compliance.

As part of IIPW, APIC also created an online pledge for patients and families and an online pledge for health care professionals.

Contact Erin O’Malley, director of policy, at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.