Hospital infection control units: staffing, costs, and priorities

Am J Infect Control. 2015 Jun;43(6):612-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2015.02.016. Epub 2015 Mar 31.


Background: This article describes infection prevention and control professionals' (ICPs') staffing levels, patient outcomes, and costs associated with the provision of infection prevention and control services in Australian hospitals. A secondary objective was to determine the priorities for infection control units.

Methods: A cross-sectional study design was used. Infection control units in Australian public and private hospitals completed a Web-based anonymous survey. Data collected included details about the respondent; hospital demographics; details and services of the infection control unit; and a description of infection prevention and control-related outputs, patient outcomes, and infection control priorities.

Results: Forty-nine surveys were undertaken, accounting for 152 Australian hospitals. The mean number of ICPs was 0.66 per 100 overnight beds (95% confidence interval, 0.55-0.77). Privately funded hospitals have significantly fewer ICPs per 100 overnight beds compared with publicly funded hospitals (P < .01). Staffing costs for nursing staff in infection control units in this study totaled $16,364,392 (mean, $380,566). Infection control units managing smaller hospitals (<270 beds) identified the need for increased access to infectious diseases or microbiology support.

Conclusion: This study provides valuable information to support future decisions by funders, hospital administrators, and ICPs on service delivery models for infection prevention and control. Further, it is the first to provide estimates of the resourcing and cost of staffing infection control in hospitals at a national level.

Keywords: Australia; Healthcare–associated infections; Hospital; Infection control; Priorities; Resource; Staffing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Hospital Departments / economics
  • Hospital Departments / organization & administration*
  • Hospitals, Private / economics
  • Hospitals, Public / economics
  • Humans
  • Infection Control / economics
  • Infection Control / organization & administration*
  • Infection Control Practitioners / economics
  • Infection Control Practitioners / supply & distribution*
  • Personnel Staffing and Scheduling / economics*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires