Cheerful male and female nurses talking at table

The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) on Wednesday disclosed a new IP Staffing Calculator that  aims to help infection prevention and control specialists gauge optimal staffing levels and boost efforts to prevent healthcare-associated infections.

The tool uses existing evidence to form recommendations for staffing ratios in long-term care, acute and ambulatory care settings. All of the recommendations are based on key risk factors.

“We are excited to provide this tool to the infection prevention field,” Patricia Jackson, RN, president of APIC, said in a statement. “APIC members have been asking for a resource to help quantify staffing needs for years, and now we can begin to deliver on that promise. With member input, we will be able to provide a robust, accurate staffing tool that will help IP leaders make the case for adequate staff and resources to protect patients.”

The introductory version of the staffing calculator is an “exploratory approach,” APIC says. That is, it’s intended to provide a basic calculation of staffing needs and will collect data that can be used for creating a more rigorous algorithm in the future. 

Data gathered from healthcare facilities that use the tool will be utilized to update it so the tool improves over time. In the next year, an updated version will be released to reflect the accumulated data. In addition to updating the tool as it rolls out, APIC said that it will produce annual reports summarizing data to drive deeper insights into its effectiveness.

The news comes as more organizations are hiring chief infection prevention officers (CIPOs). An article published Dec. 7 in Infection Control Today shared details on this executive role that supports operational positions through the lens of preventing infection.