From left: Geralyn Abel, infection control practitioner, and Verna Sinclair, director of infection control.

Image courtesy of Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation.

The presence of some staff donning red vests at Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation in New Hyde Park, N.Y., has quickly become a frequent sight at the short-term rehabilitation and long-term care facility. Those specially clothed employees make up a multidisciplinary team called the Infection Control Patrol, which was set into motion in May. 

President and CEO Michael N. Rosenblut implemented the program at the recommendation of its regulatory compliance and consulting firm. The program enhances the infection control protocol Parker already had in place while also creating more touchpoints for positive and educational feedback. It allows for staff to ask questions and share concerns they may have.

The team is made up of nurses, rehab, case managers, physicians, assessors, an infection control preventionist, the clinical director of nursing and a certified nursing assistant. The multidisciplinary effort helps ensure that everyone is engaged with the protocol and helps to further bring about best practices as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the New York State Department of Health. 

The Infection Control Patrol makes its rounds each day and during all shifts, which likely totals up to 10 hours each week. The team not only ensures that best practices such as hand hygiene are properly carried out, but it also looks for new strategies to enhance infection control. 

For instance, a new UV lighting system has been built into the duct work of the facility HVAC systems. Parker has three main HVACs, and each system will have its own UV lighting system installed in the supply air ducts to the location it services. This will help ensure that the entire health care facility will have another layer of protection for the patients, residents and staffs.

Although the Infection Control Patrol started as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaders at Parker say that the facility will continue the program even when the health crisis ends. The rehab and long-term care facility says it adds an additional layer of oversight to infection control practices and ensures safety of its community.