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Resumee 3rd CEE wide Semmelweis conference on hospital hygiene

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Quotations and Highlights from two days of exciting lectures and discussions


  • Urgent action is required with respect to antibiotic resistance
  • We have to leverage the potential of entire teams – this requires leadership
  • There is a fire in our house!
  • Economic nonsense: curing a disease instead of preventing it
  • Cost of diagnostics should be included into the budget of antibiotics
  • We have to build meta competence, we have to build European competence! In both cases we have to learn from each other
  • Hospitals believe that they can work separately. But they cannot. All hospitals in a region are related when it comes to HAI
  • Political science should be connected to medicine.
  • Hospitals are highly political places – therefore silo busting is difficult
  • We could learn from the aviation industry and should exchange information horizontally
  • When it comes to infection prevention – nurses are more important than we think
  • Evidence is not enough. You also need to communicate it.
  • Doctors and patients have the same goal, but trust is needed.
  • Trust is the fuel and glue of each network.
  • In hospitals we are too much our roles but we get responsibility through our functions.
  • We should use standard operation procedures and stick to the basic processes
  • Economic interest versus patient safety??
  • Should patients assess hospitals regarding hygiene? Patients cannot easily judge it and should not be asked.
  • Discussing an issue is the start of a solution
  • To teach and explain is better than to pressure
  • ICPIC will become a patient-included meeting this year.
  • With respect to infection prevention: generation change will help.
  • If you want to bust silos: you should include emotions.
  • Let’s be proud of what has been achieved in the past 150 years since Semmelweis – but we are not satisfied!
  • Reality often differs to what is being written down
  • If you don’t have enough resources: Do less, but do it well.
  • If you plan to make a program, speak with the front workers first
  • Flu vaccination status in Austria: 7%
  • Flu increases the chance of HAI infections – this has been known since Egon Schiele died of it 101 years ago.
  • Flu vaccination also reduces the risk of MCI by 50%
  • Silo mentality: The mindset is inward-looking. Silo busting may contribute to an overall failure.
  • Solution for silo busting: Identify – Involve – Facilitate – Communicate!
  • Semmelweis tried to bust silos
  • What is silo busting? A means to change the system, a multimodal approach, monitoring and feedback, fatwa for alcohol-based hand rub
  • Adapt to adopt!
  • Motto of Country Hospital Villach (Corinthia, Austria): Your welfare is our concern
  • Villach is a Model of patient-oriented quality
  • In an average large hospital, we have 12,000 written SOPs (Standard operating procedures). An average nurse knows only 3 of them.
  • You always train an orchestra together, not the violins on Monday, the trumpets on Tuesday and the drums on Wednesday.
  • Handy hygiene compliance: Knowledge is there, tools are there, simply people forget to disinfect their hands.
  • Opinion poll: What would increase the compliance? Nr. 1: More dispensers. Nr. 2: More monitoring and feedback.
  • Bed Bugs killed by a fogger with Permethrin and Peroxide. Not Silo Busters but Bug Busters.
  • How often does the laboratory ask you what you really want? Yet, the laboratory has to be a partner, an ally.
  • Reservoir of resistant pathogens is growing.
  • Stewardship must be a coordinated program.
  • Rapid identification combined with treatment might solve the problem.
  • “Darwinopoly” – survival of the fittest (Bacteria have survived for around 1,2 billion years)
  • Innovation is always related to praxis somehow
  • Expert group at Semmelweis’ times: “We think that the theory of chlorine washing is outdated”
  • If you want to break a silo – don’t forget emotions!
  • In the US due to legal praxis it is not “patient as partner” anymore, it has turned into “patient as enemy”. We have to make patients partners again.
  • Patients versus doctors: There are rights and duties on both sides
  • Hygiene is a legal obligation!
  • Never forget: Also staff members can be infected during an outbreak!
  • How to act: Narrow window – wide impact
  • We learned to share – that increases the value (silo busting?!)
  • Do we have enough (clean) hands for our patients?
  • Infection control is like Sisyphus work
  • As an infection control person, you might feel like an elephant in a closet. But with the right mind set, dedicated teams and an open mind of political bodies – problems can be solved.


Semmelweis was the first health care activist!

Let us all become health care activists!!


Bernhard Küenburg

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