IPC blog four focus areas graphic, plan, communicate, learn and review

How To Succeed With Infection Prevention Control Audits - Quick Blog

Week three into the second national lockdown and Infection Prevention Control (IPC) has never been more at the forefront of our minds. Optalis services within both boroughs are completing more IPC audits than ever before, recognising that the quality practice can provide valuable insight and understanding.

To get the most out of your IPC audits, read the 4 Top Tips below:

1. Plan

Finding time for audits can be a real challenge, but planning the audit helps to focus on the service needs and can save more time in the future. The need to closely monitor IPC during a pandemic is vital and remaining safe and compliant ultimately save lives. Audit planning and preparation devote attention to what is needed.

Set yourself and the team allocated time to plan and prepare the work. Wherever possible, make yourself available so you can communicate with the auditor and be ready to provide any support.

2. Communicate

Speak openly to staff about the audit and explain what it will cover. Emphasising the aim of the audit in maintaining safe practices and driving quality improvement helps to raise awareness of the purpose and desired outcome. A clear expectation for delivery supports staff knowledge and helps to create a learning culture, enabling staff to accept and acknowledge constructive feedback as part of routine activity. The audit results may not always be expected, or seen as 'right'; risks arise: a procedure not followed or a task not completed. The aim is to identify that and take action to rectify and prevent reoccurrence- an internal duty of candour.

Communicate the audit schedule in team meetings or briefings for transparency, so the journey towards improvement is better understood.

3. Learn

Reviewing previous audits and actions can prevent mistakes and avoid problems by highlighting the lessons learned. Take time to check any prior recommendations or challenges to avoid repeating mistakes.

Discuss findings with your team; reflecting on what went well, or what needs to improve encourages learning from both failure and success, both being equally valuable and strengthening confidence. When there are improvements, recognise these, celebrate, give praise and share the learning.

4. Review

Reviewing the completed report is critical for decision making and planning. Think about your team- have staff had the opportunity to read the audit report and respond? Consider any additional training or mentoring needed; a brief one-to-one discussion or a practical example can support learning and positively reinforce procedures. Review the actions and ensure the tasks are assigned to the person with the skills to complete them.

Audits are not just a tick box exercise- they are a way of supporting compliance and promoting high-quality practice, which ultimately gives our customers the best service available. The proactive and collaborative approach currently being used by the teams across Optalis can give confidence to staff and peace of mind that you are doing all you can to improve organisational performance while keeping people safe. Following the four tips, 'Plan, Communicate, Learn, Review' will help you continue to succeed in your audits and achieve your goals.

Kirsty Skrzypczak - Quality Lead

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