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Published on July 23, 2015

Cone Health Maintenance Staff Among First in the Nation to Earn Infection Prevention Certification

Your doctors and nurses take precautions to prevent spreading infections. At Cone Health, so does the maintenance tech changing the light bulbs.

Cone Health has become one of the first health care networks in the nation to train and certify facility maintenance teams in infection prevention measures. The certification is part of Cone Health’s continuing efforts to reduce the number of patients who develop infections while they’re receiving care.

Maintenance tech works with ceiling barrier

Armed with containment carts, barriers and air-filtration equipment, maintenance teams no longer jump head first into fixing leaks or other repairs. “When it comes time to solve a problem, we now take a deep look and, if need be, plan with our infection prevention team about how to best accomplish the task at hand,” says Director of Plant Operations for Wesley Long Hospital, Women’s Hospital and Behavioral Health Hospital Manager Mike Cooke.

Pneumonia, gastrointestinal illnesses, surgical site infections and urinary tract infections are among the most common health care-associated infections. They can spread through surgical procedures and injections, from contact between patients and health care workers, and from touching contaminated surfaces.

“The risk of health care-associated infections concerns all of us and everyone has to be involved in preventing them,” says Cone Health Chief Medical Officer Bruce Swords, MD, PhD. “Our maintenance teams have embraced this training and our patients will benefit.”

Cooke completed the Certified Healthcare Manager training from the Construction Infection Control Institute earlier this year. He then worked with the institute to develop a course for plant operations employees. More than 20 employees from Behavioral Health Hospital, Cone Health Cancer Center, Wesley Long, and Women’s Hospital completed the training and passed the certification exam.

The training focuses on ways to reduce the risk of spreading infection when handling routine maintenance such as fixing water leaks, patching walls or repairing heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that approximately 1 in 20 patients will develop an infection while they’re receiving treatment in a health care facility. Cone Health performs better than the national average when it comes to preventing health care associated infections.

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