Bonfires, pumpkin patches, and football are some of the fun activities that come to my mind when someone mentions the word, “fall”. And, while getting a flu shot is definitely not on the list of fun things to do, it definitely is one of the most important preventive measures we can take this time of year. According to the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC), while “seasonal influenza (flu) viruses can be detected year-round in the United States, flu viruses are most common during the fall and winter.”
Despite a 46% reduction in central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) in US healthcare facilities from 2008-2013, an estimated 30,000 infections continue to occur annually among hospitalized patients.1 A common mode of pathogenesis for these infections is needleless connector contamination with microorganisms from the patient’s skin and/or the hands of healthcare workers (HCWers). Inadequate disinfection of these connectors, which are accessed multiple times by HCWers in the provision of patient care, can result in intraluminal colonization of the catheter and subsequent bloodstream infection (BSI).
The summer season is nearing its end once again with the start of school, football and fall festivals. And with back to school we bring back the germs!
Healthy kidney function is an integral part of maintaining the balance of the body to sustain life. The purpose of your two kidneys are to prevent a buildup of wastes and extra fluid in the body, which is excreted through daily urinary output. They maintain levels of electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, and phosphate, and help keep bones strong. They also facilitate production of red blood cells, as well as hormones to help regulate blood pressure.1
There has been a plethora of scientific literature demonstrating that healthcare-associated pathogens, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant Enterococci (VRE) and Clostridium difficile, frequently contaminate both porous and non-porous surfaces in the healthcare environment. This microbial burden on environmental surfaces serves as a reservoir for direct transmission of pathogens to the patient or as an indirect mode of transmission through contaminated reusable patient care equipment and/or healthcare workers’ hands and gloves. Along with hand hygiene and the implementation of best practices to prevent healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) and multi-drug resistant organisms (MDROs), environmental cleaning is a fundamental component of a comprehensive infection prevention program.
There are some big changes coming to the long term care (LTC) landscape, courtesy of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Since 2002, LTC providers have been following the Nursing Home Quality Initiative, which reimburses these facilities based on certain quality metrics including staffing, pain control, vaccination, and pressure ulcer development. This information is posted on CMS’ nursing home compare website and allows consumers to see how their local care facilities perform. However, in September 2016, CMS finalized a rule that will require massive changes in current LTC facilities.
The single most effective way to prevent the spread of disease is by performing hand hygiene. Since this seems so simple, why is there a need to annually promote clean hands by the World Health Organization (WHO) on May 5th? Great question, right?
In February, the World Health Organization (WHO) published their first list of antibiotic-resistant “priority pathogens”. This is a list of the most concerning bacteria that pose the “greatest threat to human health”. This list is divided into three levels of antibiotic-resistant bacteria based on their significance and potential impact to global health. The priority levels are listed as Priority 1 ‘Critical’, Priority 2 ‘High’ and Priority 3 ‘Medium’. Priority 1 (or ‘Critical’) is the most worrisome. It includes antibiotic-resistant Acinetobacter, Pseudomonas and various Enterobacteriaceae (including Klebsiella, Escherichia coli, Serratia, and Proteus species). These antibiotic-resistant gram-negative bacteria can cause serious infections, such as pneumonia and bloodstream infections, leading to significant morbidity and mortality.¹
Goodbye Winter. Hello Spring!:
Winter has passed, and Spring is in the air. Northerners are finally able to venture out of their snow-blocked homes, and become road warriors or mass transit travelers. Hotels, amusement parks and other recreational events are preparing for their deluge of “spring fever” crowds and vacationers, as spring breeds a plethora of outdoor activities.
Time away from home also means eating out more: at airports, hotels, restaurants, community events, hospital cafeterias, and other places where food can be readily obtained. Unfortunately, this increase in dining out also leads to an increase in foodborne diseases/illnesses – which continue to play a major role in nationwide outbreaks.
Dirty Little Secret:
When someone is acutely ill, he/she relies on hospitals with trained professionals and employees to treat or alleviate their symptoms and/or illness(es). The patient puts his/her faith and trust in the healthcare facility and workers to take care of the problem, not add to it.
But, the reality is that 1 in 25 hospital patients has contracted at least one healthcare-associated infection (or HAI)—many of which are preventable. In 2014, results of a project known as the HAI Prevalence Survey described the burden of HAIs in U.S. hospitals. The results showed that in 2011, there were an estimated 722,000 HAIs in U.S. acute care hospitals, with approximately 75,000 of those patients dying during their hospitalizations. And, more than half of all HAIs occurred outside of the intensive care unit.