Hospital Outbreak Support Teams

The fight against the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need to strengthen collaboration between hospitals, residential institutions and primary care health professionals.

To this end, the FPS HSFCE launched a call to start up a pilot project ‘Hospital Outbreak Support Teams (HOST)’. The objective is to support the existing IPC teams (Infection, Prevention & Control) and AMS teams (Antimicrobial Stewardship) during and after the pandemic. These projects operate according to 2 complementary axes. On the one hand, a locoregional axis that focuses on cooperation between hospitals. On the other hand, a transmural axis that aims to make the expertise of hospitals available to residential institutions and other healthcare professionals.

In the context of the National Action Plan against Antimicrobial Resistance (NAP-AMR), the participating hospital networks will set up a HOST team consisting of experts from the fields of infectious diseases, medical microbiology and hospital hygiene. The team will be tasked with improving the prevention and control of infections. In addition, the HOST team will ensure communication with stakeholders in residential care centres, residential facilities and outpatient care. To this end, they will organise a permanently staffed telephone line and a specific training programme.

Although there are already cooperation agreements between hospitals and residential facilities, the pandemic has highlighted their limitations. Furthermore, the high response rate to the call for pilot projects sufficiently demonstrates the need for better cooperation between the various healthcare actors. There are already 21 Belgian hospital networks involved in the current project.