Patient Safety Toolbox Talks – Infection Prevention and Control


Patient Safety Toolbox Talks – Infection Prevention and Control

Contact information: Health Service Executive – Dublin North East, Ireland

Cornelia Stuart, Regional Quality and Patient Safety Manager,

Originally developed by: Health Service Executive – Dublin North East
Country of origin: Ireland
Year of development: 2013
Next update: It is planned to develop a further 20 talks on other Patient Safety Topics in 2013. Existing talks will be routinely reviewed annually and updated as required.
Available in the following languages: English

Type of tool: tool for reminding staff in the workplace

Short description

Toolbox talks are short, discussions or presentations (5-10 minutes) designed to be delivered in the work place i.e. at team meetings or huddles. They are designed to be capable of being delivered by line managers to their staff i.e. do not require a subject expert to deliver. They are generally focused on one specific topic which the talk addresses in simple terms. While it need not be about a safety topic, it is not uncommon for safety to be the topic. Toolbox Talks are aimed to provide the opportunity for a line manager to emphasize the importance of a particular patient safety issue or procedure within the workplace, and for staff to ask questions or make constructive comments. A total of 35 Toolbox Talks have been developed, fourteen of which relate to key infection prevention and control topics i.e. germs, standard precautions, hand hygiene, personal protective equipment, glove selection, respiratory hygiene, cleaning and decontamination, patient equipment, management of healthcare waste, patient placement, outbreaks and notifiable diseases, staff roles in an outbreak situation, management of sharps and sharps injury and blood and body fluid exposure.

Target audience

All healthcare staff, clinical and non clinical

Applicability (setting e.g. inpatient care, outpatient care, long term care etc.)

Applicable in all settings

Information on how the tool has been applied/tested in practice

Yes, this tool was evaluated in two care settings as part of the development process. The evaluation was undertaken from the perspective of staff delivering and receiving the talks. The results of this showed that it was a practical and relevant approach.

Needed resources (financial, material, human)

The main cost associated with this project was printing. The content and formatting of the talks was all done in house.

Needed time for implementation

Implementation is dependant on training of line managers in the use of the tool. A short training presentation has been developed and this takes approx. one hour. Ongoing support for line managers is through a nominated person within the service area.

Strengths and limitations

The main strength of this tool is that it is simple and practical. It recognizes the difficulty experienced by services in releasing staff for training and breaks training down into short messages that can be delivered in the workplace as part of hand-overs, staff meetings etc. It does not require specialist staff to deliver and delivering to all staff simultaneously means that the whole team receives one consistent message at the same time. The main weakness is that managers may consider this as a substitute for formal training. The guidance for application makes clear that this is not the intention of the tool and that formal training programmes will still be required.