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Selected Category: Healthcare-associated infections

Hand Hygiene CAN Save a Patient’s Life

Categories: Hand Hygiene, Healthcare-associated infections

Armando and Victoria Nahum

Armando and Victoria Nahum

Author – Victoria Nahum
Co-Founder and Director
Safe Care Campaign (Atlanta, Georgia)

My name is Victoria Nahum. Almost 5 years ago, my husband Armando and I learned the hardest lesson of our lives. We learned that losing our 27 year old son Joshua to a healthcare-associated infection didn’t have to happen; even worse, his untimely death may have been prevented by some simple steps we wish we would have known back then. [Read Josh’s story.]

Perhaps the bitter knowledge that he did not die of his original diagnosis (injuries from a skydiving accident), but died instead of what health experts tell us was most likely preventable (a Gram-negative infection he caught during his care) is the hardest thing we live with every day.

In 2006, when Josh was first admitted to the hospital his father and I read and obeyed the sign on the door that simply said, “All visitors must wash their hands before entering the ICU.”

Taking GRIME out of South Carolina

Categories: Hand Hygiene, Healthcare-associated infections, State HAI Prevention

Dixie Roberts, APRN, C, MPH

Dixie Roberts, APRN, C, MPH

Author – Dixie Roberts, APRN, C, MPH
Healthcare Associated Infections Coordinator
South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control

“He who doesn’t prevent grime when he can, encourages it”

In 2007, with the knowledge that hand hygiene compliance is directly related to hospital acquired infections (HAIs), the South Carolina Hospital Association (SCHA) launched the first statewide hand hygiene campaign in alignment with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) international hand hygiene campaign. DHEC, AARP, Mothers Against Medical Error and APIC- Palmetto Chapter soon joined the effort.

This campaign had to be engaging in order to be successful. We selected the theme “Grime Scene Investigators: South Carolina” (GSI:SC), a parody on the popular television series CSI. Enthused about our initiative, the South Carolina Chapter of HOSA and the South Carolina Department of Education joined our effort.

In July 2009 a “summons” was sent to hospital infection prevention and marketing departments and public health regions calling them for training in Grime Scene Investigation. Each hospital received a GSI:SC kit with everything needed to set up a “grime scene” to create awareness while educating people on proper hand hygiene and its importance. Every SCHA member facility and public health region demonstrated their support of the campaign by designating a point of contact.

Hand Hygiene: Back to Basics in Infection Prevention

Categories: Hand Hygiene, Healthcare-associated infections

Katherine Ellingson, PhD

Katherine Ellingson, PhD

Author – Kate Ellingson, Ph.D.
CDC Epidemiologist
CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotiona

Hand hygiene is a simple practice that has been at the core of infection prevention for over 150 years. Yet getting healthcare personnel to follow recommended hand hygiene practices in today’s complex and demanding healthcare environment continues to be a monumental challenge. Even in the developed world, adherence is estimated to be less than 50%, meaning healthcare personnel practice hand hygiene fewer than half of the times that they should.

In the past year, the visibility of novel strategies to improve hand hygiene in healthcare has increased — from technologies that can monitor and report hand hygiene performance in real time, to smartphone applications that streamline hand hygiene data collection by human observers, to financial incentive schemes that pay or fine healthcare personnel based on hand hygiene performance.  We at CDC are very interested and engaged in understanding how these strategies work, what their strengths and limitations are, and how feasible and affordable their implementation is. Creative or high-tech solutions must work in parallel with the fundamental building blocks of hand hygiene improvement: education, grassroots promotion, and leadership.

No, it is not ok to reuse that syringe!

Categories: Healthcare-associated infections, Injection Safety

Gina Pugliese, Rn, Ms

Gina Pugliese, Rn, Ms

Author – Gina Pugliese, RN MS
Vice President of the Safety Institute, Premier healthcare alliance

It was 20 years ago when I first heard about syringes being reused on multiple patients, followed by a flurry of guidelines cautioning about the need to use a single syringe for each patient. Times change – safe injection practices are not optional – patients deserve better. And yet, in the last ten years, unsafe injection practices have resulted in more than 30 outbreaks of infectious disease across the United States, including hepatitis C, and notification of more than 125,000 patients. In a recent survey my organization, the Premier healthcare alliance, found that syringe reuse and other unsafe injection practices are still occurring today among a small but disturbing percentage US clinicians in various healthcare settings.

But why? Health care providers do not come to work with the intent of harming a patient. Yet, lack of awareness and mistaken beliefs about safe injection practices are putting their patients at risk. As highlighted in our article and a recent CDC commentary by Dr. Joseph Perz, it is NOT true that that contamination only affects the needle and not the syringe. Likewise some providers may not realize that it NOT OK to reuse a syringe if they only inject into IV tubing or to reuse a single dose vial for multiple patients if the vial has leftover medication in it.

Preventing MRSA in healthcare – Is there a silver bullet? (Part 1 of 3)

Categories: Antimicrobial Resistance, Healthcare-associated infections, MRSA

John Jernigan, M.D.

John Jernigan, M.D.

Author: John Jernigan, M.D
Director for CDC’s Office of HAI Prevention Research and Evaluation, Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion

The optimal approach to controlling MRSA in healthcare facilities has been a topic of ongoing controversy. Of particular interest is the question of whether the use of active detection and isolation of patients colonized with MRSA, also known as ADI, should be routinely used. Despite ongoing research and vigorous scientific debate, a simple answer has remained elusive. This week, two studies were published in the New England Journal of Medicine that illustrate the complexities of the scientific evidence surrounding ADI. One of these studies, the STAR*ICU Trial (Intervention to Reduce Transmission of Resistant Bacteria in Intensive Care), found that ADI as implemented in the study was not effective in reducing transmission of MRSA or VRE. A separate observational study (Veterans Affairs Initiative to Prevent Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Infections) involving the entire national VA hospital system
, found that after implementing a multifaceted MRSA prevention program that included ADI, MRSA transmissions and HAIs decreased significantly. The fact that these studies seem to give different answers illustrates the challenge we as scientists face in making recommendations on how best to use limited prevention resources-sometimes the answers aren’t simple as we would like.

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