Infection Prevention in Oncology and other Immunocompromised Patients

Author(s):
Kim M. Boynton-Delahanty, BSN, MBA/HCM, CIC Director, Infection Prevention and Control and Epidemiology

UCSD Healthcare
San Diego, CA

Kimberly M. Hinckley, RN, BSN, CIC Senior Infection Control Coordinator

Roswell Park Cancer Institute
Buffalo, NY

Cheryl Perego, MPH, MT(ASCP), CIC Supervisor, Infection Control 

University of Texas 
MD Anderson Cancer Center
Houston, TX

Published:
October 3, 2014

Abstract

Oncology patients and other immunocompromised populations are at increased risk for acquiring healthcare-associated infections because of their underlying disease processes and/or treatment regimens that result in neutropenia and impaired immune response. Treatment of infection is often more difficult in this population; therefore, prevention is key. Enhanced infection prevention measures that focus on universal strategies, such as hand hygiene, barrier precautions, and environmental controls, are essential. In concert with these basics, a comprehensive infection prevention and control program must also provide the road map for identification and management of infection risks. Such risks involve exposure to communicable diseases, invasive devices, and environmental pathogens associated with air, water, and other environmental sources.