2018 AAHA Infection Control, Prevention, and Biosecurity Guidelines

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First, Do No Harm: Safeguarding Patients and the Veterinary Team with AAHA’s Infection Control, Prevention, and Biosecurity Guidelines

A veterinary team’s best work can be undone by a breach in infection control, prevention, and biosecurity (ICPB). Such a breach, in the practice or home-care setting, can lead to medical, social, and financial impacts on patients, clients, and staff, as well as damage the reputation of the hospital. To mitigate these negative outcomes, the AAHA ICPB Guidelines advocate for hospital teams to:

  1. Improve upon their current efforts by limiting pathogen exposure from entering or being transmitted throughout the hospital population, and
  2. Use surveillance methods to detect any new entry of a pathogen into the practice.

These practice-oriented guidelines include step-by-step instructions to upgrade ICPB efforts in any hospital, including recommendations on the following:

  • Establishing an infection control practitioner to coordinate and implement the ICPB program
  • Developing evidence-based standard operating procedures related to tasks performed frequently by the veterinary team (hand hygiene, cleaning and disinfection, phone triage, etc.)
  • Assessing the facility’s ICPB strengths and areas of improvement
  • Creating a staff education and training plan; cataloging client education material specific for use in the practice
  • Implementing a surveillance program
  • Maintaining a compliance evaluation program

Consistently implementing these protocols within a veterinary practice will invariably strengthen the loyalties of clients to the hospital as well as deepen the pride the staff have in their roles, both of which are the basis of successful veterinary practice. Look to the AAHA Infection Control, Prevention, and Biosecurity Guidelines for these strategies and more!

These guidelines are supported by a generous educational grant from Virox Animal Health™.

These guidelines were prepared by a task force of experts convened by AAHA. This document is intended as a guideline only, not an AAHA standard of care. These guidelines and recommendations should not be construed as dictating an exclusive protocol, course of treatment, or procedure. Variations in practice may be warranted based on the needs of the individual patient, resources, and limitations unique to each individual practice setting. Evidence-based support for specific recommendations has been cited whenever possible and appropriate. Other recommendations are based on practical clinical experience and a consensus of expert opinion. Further research is needed to document some of these recommendations. Because each case is different, veterinarians must base their decisions on the best available scientific evidence in conjunction with their own knowledge and experience.

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