News from the Frontlines: Implementing an IPC program for a COVID-19 surge facility

Reviewed by Clare Marlin, MS, BSN, CIC; Shirley Ryan AbilityLab

Tadavarthy and colleagues implemented an infection prevention and control (IPC) program, including thorough training in IPC practices and personal protective equipment (PPE) standards, at an alternative care site (ACS) designated to be a COVID-19 surge hospital. They utilized the “4S’s” conceptual model of Space, Staff, Stuff, and Systems to ensure patient and healthcare worker safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.  In late March 2020, the authors, with support from public and private partnerships, converted a multi-use indoor venue into an ACS for low-acuity COVID-19 patients using various resources provided by federal and local agencies.

The Space was assessed for potential risks, hazards, and logistics, and engineering controls were implemented.  The Staff was comprised of experts in IPC, as well as healthcare students and government leaders.  The Stuff included a careful assessment and inventory of healthcare supplies and PPE to support the 152-bed ACS and its Staff.  Systems encompassed ensuring the safety of healthcare workers and patients through health screening, a detailed orientation of the supplies and facility, PPE competency, and hand hygiene. This blueprint provides a roadmap for others faced with similar challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic which has demanded adaptability and clear, goal-oriented communication prioritizing adherence to best practice safety and health guidelines.


Tadavarthy S., Finnegan K., Bernatowic, G., Lowe E., Coffin S. & Manning, M. Developing and implementing an infection prevention and control program for a COVID-19 alternative care site in Philadelphia, PA. American Journal of Infection Control 2021;49: 77-81.

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