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This text-based course is a written transcript of the live event, “Infection Control for Speech-Language Pathology”, presented by A.U. Bankaitis on January 9, 2012.
>> Amy Hansen: Hello, everyone. Welcome to today's expert seminar, “Infection Control for Speech-Language Pathology” presented by Dr. A.U. Bankaitis. We're very pleased to have her with us today. My name is Amy Hansen and I will be your moderator for today's online course. At this time, it is very much an honor to introduce Dr. A.U. Bankaitis. Dr. Bankaitis is Vice‑President of Oaktree Products, a multi-line distributer of audiology and hearing healthcare products located in St. Louis, Missouri. Dr. Bankaitis earned her doctorate from University of Cincinnati in 1995, where her funded research investigated the effects of varying degrees of HIV on the auditory system. This research naturally led to the area of infection control. Dr. Bankaitis is considered one of the leading experts in this area as it pertains to the hearing industry, authoring numerous infection control publications, including the popular textbook, Infection Control in the Audiology Clinic and Infection Control for Speech‑Language Pathology. Welcome A.U. and thank you so much for joining us today.
>> Dr. Bankaitis. Thank you. Hello, everybody, I'm A.U. Bankaitis from St. Louis, Missouri, and today's course is dedicated to providing a very broad overview of Infection Control for Speech‑Language Pathology. I will be available to answer questions at the end of the presentation, and just like any new information that you hear, questions will certainly pop up in the future. My contact information will be posted on one of the last slides, and you should feel free to contact me at any time with any questions that may develop in the future. The goal of this course is to review necessary information that will enable you to answer three basic questions. What is infection control? Why should you as a speech‑language pathologist care? What do I need to do to get my infection control plan in place?
What is Infection Control?
Let's start with the first objective, which is, what is infection control? What do we mean by this term? As defined by Bankaitis and Kemp, infection control refers to the “…conscious management of the clinical environment for the very specific purposes of minimizing or eliminating the potential spread of disease,” regardless of how remote that possibility may seem. Now, this definition is very straightforward. As a result, clinicians very quickly jump to the conclusion that integrating an infection control plan will be equally as straightforward. While creating and implementing an infection control plan is not that difficult – particularly with the recent availability of practical resources that have direct applications to both audiology and speech‑language pathology – it is a process that involves conscious management of the clinical environment. Infection control is a cognizant, premeditated process that requires thinking through clinical procedures and assessing how those procedures may need to be modified to minimize the potential spread of disease.
It's usually at this point where you, as a speech‑language pathologist, can become quickly frustrated because you are suddenly forced to think through clinical procedures that have otherwise become so automatic. Furthermore, there is a tendency to over think the process to the point where you essentially conclude that the only way that you can achieve infection control goals is to essentially come to work wearing a hazmat suit. Unfortunately, once you get to this point, the path of least resistance naturally leads us to abandon infection control efforts and to erroneously interpret them as unnecessary. The good news is that this sort of infection control rollercoaster is a natural progression in the learning process, and hopefully with the information covered in this course, you will have the preliminary information and the tools to create and integrate an effective infection control plan in your current practice with minimum frustration.