Kathleen B. Stoessel, RN, BSN, MS, senior manager, clinical education of Kimberly-Clark Health Care, discusses the recently launched Kimberly-Clark HAI Patient Education Program aimed at educating patients about healthcare-associated infections and steps they can take to aid in their prevention.
Q: Why was this program rolled out now?
Kathleen B. Stoessel: According to the CDC, healthcare-associated infections affect one in every 20 hospitalized patients, and are the cause of death for 99,000 patients each year. These statistics make it imperative that patients, visitors and families join with their medical professionals to learn how to protect themselves in the healthcare setting. Kimberly-Clark launched the HAI Patient Education Program to assist participating hospitals in community health and wellness initiatives along with industry experts to provide patient education on HAIs. With the eventual access to the Hospital Compare data on HAIs, consumers will be able to take advantage of published HAI rates and use it to make significant healthcare decisions. The program also provides consumers with information on how to protect themselves from HAIs and prevent the spread of HAIs in their community.
Q: How did and will Kimberly-Clark determine what to include in the program?
KS: In a recent survey conducted for Kimberly-Clark by Opinion Research, more than half (56 percent) of every 1,000 adults do not know what an HAI is. Based on these findings, Kimberly-Clark launched the Kimberly-Clark HAI Patient Education Program to improve overall awareness and equip patients, family members and visitors with techniques to help reduce the prevalence and severity of HAIs.
Q: Why do you think it's important to involve patients and their families in HAI prevention?
KS: Clinically proven guidelines that hospitals and healthcare professionals take to reduce infections are not enough. Patients, families and visitors need to play an active role in preventing their risk of infection. Kimberly-Clark provides patients with a checklist of straightforward precautions. These procedures include hand hygiene, one of the most important ways a patient can protect his or herself from infection. In addition to this checklist, Kimberly-Clark provides patient guidance in the form of a list of sample questions guiding patients and their families on what to ask before surgery. Patients entering the hospital are empowered and prepared to help protect and manage their own well-being.
Q: A component of the program is Kimberly-Clark providing resources and training to providers that want to provide their own HAI prevention training. Could you discuss what might be included in the resources and training?
KS: Kimberly-Clark offers a variety of resources in HAI prevention for healthcare professionals to take advantage of. In the community, the Kimberly-Clark Education Bus provides support for health fairs and other community events with educational content such as a patient educational toolkit on infection prevention. For the healthcare professional, Kimberly-Clark offers a variety of accredited continuing education (CE) courses. Kimberly-Clark also provides ready-made materials and collateral for healthcare professionals to educate patients including checklists, factsheets and hospital signage informing and reminding patients of what they can do to prevent HAIs during their hospital stay. Online, the Kimberly-Clark KNOWLEDGE NETWORK is a comprehensive collection of educational resources created specifically for healthcare professionals as well as for patient information. The downloadable collection is available on the www.haiwatch4you.com website.
Q: With the program set to run about two years, what do you hope to achieve during that time?
KS: Kimberly-Clark will continue to educate health professionals and patients on HAIs and infection prevention. With Kimberly-Clark's training and resource tools, we will provide healthcare professionals with the tools needed to reduce HAI rates in their hospitals while educating patients and their families on what HAIs are and what they can do to reduce HAI.
Published HAI rates will give hospitals a baseline and a way to compare their facility to local and national standards. For patients, this information will provide the information for them to make better informed decisions on where they will seek treatment. With this data, Kimberly-Clark will continue to produce meaningful resources to empower healthcare professionals, patients and their families in the reduction and prevention of HAIs.
Learn more about the Kimberly-Clark HAI Patient Education Program at www.haiwatch4you.com.