IPC Tour 2024 Highlights

Posted

17th May 2024

Events and Exhibitions

GAMA Healthcare and ACIPC once again joined forces to bring Australian IPC healthcare workers the IPC Tour but, in 2024, we changed it up a little. We added a city, welcoming Adelaide to the Tour, and an Aged Care specific Workshop after the Tour.

Our international keynote speaker, Dr Jon Otter, joined the impressive line-up of local keynote and IPC expert speakers in Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne. While Jon didn’t attend the Perth event, the agenda was packed with local speakers to get the minds and tongues of the attendees moving.

Jon started the events by delving into surface disinfectants in healthcare. It’s always an interesting start to a presentation when the first slide is a cauliflower to start the discussion on transmission. The age-old question of when to use disinfectants and whether they contribute to antimicrobial resistance was discussed at length and some “aha” moments were shared in each city.  

Prof. Brett Mitchell shared the latest research he and his team are working on and there are some interesting and dare I say, groundbreaking research results to be shared. While the IPC cohort eagerly awaits the official results of the CLEEN study (The Cleaning and Enhanced Disinfection Study) and the HAPPEN study (Hospital Acquired Pneumonia Prevention Study), attendees were given a very small taste of some of the results to be shared at ECCMID in April and later at IPS in Manchester, UK.

Jon then turned his hand to the future, discussing what’s next for IPC looking at winter in 2024 and beyond. Antimicrobial resistance was again a hot topic with Jon diving deeper into what AMR is and whether biocides contribute to what the World Health Organization states is one of the top global public health and development threats. Jon raised his concern about therapeutic AMR related to the use of antimicrobials and played down his concern about susceptibility, or tolerance, to biocides. According to Jon (and researchers), it’s all in the formulation.

Emerging pathogens are always high on the priority list of concern for IPC Leads which is why we facilitated key IPC experts in each city to discuss Candida auris. Belinda Henderson in Brisbane, shared case studies to share knowledge and expertise with attendees including the Queensland Health Guidelines and key messages. Dr Kate Clezy shared the New South Wales Guidelines and some case studies while Fiona De Souza presented in Melbourne and Dr. Ed Raby in Perth. The overwhelming message from all presenters discussing C.auris was one of clear guidelines and early testing but, this pathogen can often be mistaken for something else before being identified and appropriate treatment commenced.

Kathy Dempsey shared her thoughts and some of her work on Australian IPC Governance. There are a significant number of interested bodies both government and industry, but Australia still doesn’t have a national jurisdiction for the prevention of healthcare-associated infections or infection prevention and control programs. The interim Australian Centre for Disease Control will help to fill some of these holes and bring governance and surveillance to the fore.

GAMA’s very own Jake Jennings, Materials Scientist, prerecorded his presentation so he didn’t look like a “zombie” in his own words. Jake’s presentation was very topical for many IPC Leads with material compatibility as a key criterion for the introduction of certain medical devices into facilities. Understanding the impact of certain disinfectants and even detergents, ensures decisions are made based on unbiased information. Real-world examples had attendees making notes and asking questions during the panel discussion.

Stéphane Bouchoucha, ACIPC President, discussed balancing safe care with compassionate care in infection prevention. The implications of the IPC measures, recommendations and directives during the COVID-19 pandemic brought several issues to the fore including communication and messaging and the impact of simple directives such as the use of PPE. For some, the images were confronting and for others, they were simply nodding.

The most popular session during the IPC Tour was the panel discussion. This is an hour of unscripted questions with our presenters, and we added some attendees from the aged care sector in Sydney to answer some questions. Attracting new professionals to Infection Prevention and Control as a career was high on the agenda as was IPC in Aged Care and where to find support.

To support our Aged Care IPC Leads, GAMA ran a hands-on workshop after the IPC Tour. This was aimed specifically at Facility Leads and IPC Leads with a back-to-basics feel. We talked about healthcare-associated infections and what that means in aged care, emerging pathogens such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, creating a train-the-trainer IPC program and influencing and managing up. We moved into hands-on sessions covering environmental decontamination, auditing tools and incontinence-associated dermatitis and IPC.

The IPC Tour remains high on many IPC Leads calendars with over 450 attendees across the country and more than 50 people attending the Aged Care IPC Workshops. Attendees from the Community including Aged Care have more than tripled since 2023 which shows there is both a keen interest and a need to support this sector.

Thank you to all our speakers, international and local, and to all our attendees whether in person or via webinar. The Brisbane webinar recording is available to watch and is a great way to catch up in your own time. The next 10 months are filled with IPC activity including World Hand Hygiene Day, World Continence Week and of course the ACIPC Conference in November in Melbourne and, while all this is happening, GAMA will be working on the 2025 IPC Tour and Aged Care Workshops. Be safe, until we see you at the next IPC Tour…

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