The Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) department at Public Health Ontario (PHO)
provides support to health care settings to enable consistent adoption of IPAC best
practices. The IPAC Regional Support unit plays a role in dissemination, knowledge
exchange, and capacity building. To effectively prioritize supports, it is essential
to understand the needs of our stakeholders.
A needs assessment of IPAC professionals was conducted in all health care sectors
in PHO's Central West region. The project was framed by the Knowledge to Action Cycle
to support exploration of gaps, priorities, barriers, facilitators, and strategies.
The objectives were to identify practices gaps, barriers influencing change, gaps
in knowledge and skills, and stakeholders preferences for supports.
Multiple data sources were used to collect information from IPAC stakeholders in several
sectors. Data sources includes an online survey (April 1 to June 30, 2019), consultation
with public health units (PHU), stakeholder inquiries, and evaluations of previous
educational sessions (April 2017 to March 2019).
Information was collected from eighteen PHU representatives and 135 survey respondents,
56% from long-term care and retirement homes.
The needs assessment identified the importance of tailoring supports and priority
areas for learning by sector, as well as preferred modalities for learning.
Across sectors, stakeholders face barriers to practice improvement due to the physical
environment and resources (17%), as well as motivation (40%). There was a strong interest
in skill development around techniques to motivate and inspire colleagues and secure
The needs assessment was supported by multiple sources, and gathered information about
challenges to improving IPAC practices that can be applied beyond the Central West
Region. The needs assessment has provided information that can be used to prioritize
areas of focus for the exploration of strategies to improve practice gaps.