Vancouver Team First in North America to Win International Infection Prevention and Control Award

Vancouver, May 25, 2009 — In the wake of the recent global H1N1 Influenza A (human swine flu) outbreak, Providence Health Care is especially pleased to announce that its Infection Prevention and Control Team (IPAC) has won the Oxoid Judges’ Special Award for excellence in hospital infection prevention. It is the first time such an award has been bestowed upon an infection control team in North America.
“The Oxoid Infection Control Team of the Year Awards are open to infection prevention and control teams worldwide,” says Fiona Macrae, Oxoid awards manager. “We are delighted to make a Judges’ Special Award to the infection control team at Providence Health Care for the work they have undertaken, not only reducing levels of hospital acquired infections, including VRE (Vancomycin Resistant Enterococci), which does not commonly feature in awards entries, but also reducing infections in intravenous drug users and homeless persons in the local community.”

“It is a real honour to receive this award,” said Dr. Marc Romney, PHC’s Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Control. “The IPAC Team would like to share the Judges’ Special Award with all PHC staff, physicians and leaders who have helped reduce our rates of hospital-acquired infections over the past five years.”

At St. Paul’s Hospital (PHC’s flagship hospital), 15 percent of patient admissions are attributable to injection drug use. This group has high prevalence rates of antibiotic-resistant organisms (AROs), including MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and VRE. Providing IPAC services for those with substance abuse issues – as well as the remainder of the population – has presented unique challenges for the IPAC Team as well as the hospital’s other staff and physicians.

“We’ve tackled these challenges by instituting a broad infection prevention and control program, based on best available evidence and using local data to support innovative practice,” said Romney. “These strategies include an extensive hand hygiene campaign with a mandatory hand hygiene module for physicians, sophisticated laboratory detection methods, refined surveillance systems, and enhanced infection control awareness and practices among health care professionals.”

Although challenges and barriers remain, PHC’s dedicated IPAC strategies are having positive impacts, as evidenced by decreases in hospital acquired infections and improvements in hand hygiene compliance.

“Canada has long been seen as a leader in infection control and prevention practices,” said Suhail Khan, Oxoid Canadian Clinical Market Manager. “The award submission made by the Infection Prevention and Control Team at Providence Health Care is an excellent example of the level of expertise within Canada. The Infection Control Practitioners at Providence Health Care should be proud of their world class efforts.”

Members of PHC’s IPAC Team will attend an awards ceremony in Birmingham, UK, on June 2, 2009, where they will be presented with their Judges’ Special Award.

About the Oxoid Infection Control Team of the Year Awards
The Oxoid Infection Control Team of the Year Awards were launched in 2003 and are designed to recognize those who are making a real difference to improved standards of infection control within hospitals worldwide. Oxoid, part of Thermo Fisher Scientific, is a world leading microbiology brand with products used within hospital laboratories to aid clinicians in their diagnosis of MRSA, Clostridium difficile and many other infections and diseases. The Oxoid Infection Control Team of the Year Awards are supported by the Hospital Infection Society, the Infection Prevention Society, the Association of Medical Microbiologists, and the International Federation of Infection Control.

About Providence Health Care
Providence Health Care is one of Canada's largest faith-based health care organizations, operating 14 health care facilities in Greater Vancouver. Guided by the principle “How you want to be treated,” PHC's 1,000 physicians and 6,000 staff deliver compassionate care to patients and residents in British Columbia. Providence’s programs and services span the complete continuum of care and serve people throughout B.C. As a renowned academic health science leader, PHC operates one of two teaching hospitals in the province, performs cutting-edge research in more than 30 clinical specialties, and focuses its services on six “populations of emphasis”: cardio-pulmonary risks and illnesses, HIV/AIDS, mental health, renal risks and illness, specialized needs in aging and urban health.

For more information, contact:

Justin Karasick
Leader, Communications and Public Relations
Providence Health Care
Media Pager: 604.2524261
Tel: 604.806.8460