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Selected Category: Healthcare-associated infections

Program to Prevent Infections in Cancer Patients Hits Home

Categories: Healthcare-associated infections, Patients

Lisa Splitlog

Lisa Splitlog

Guest Author – Lisa Splitlog  
Director, CDC Value Communications
CDC Foundation

As a CDC Foundation staff member, I’m always proud to share with my family and friends how we help advance the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) lifesaving work through public-private partnerships that help protect our nation’s health security and contribute to a healthy economy. It’s exciting and fulfilling to work for an organization that makes a difference in the lives of so many.

Over the last few months, though, one of our partnerships with Amgen focused on preventing infections in cancer patients has really hit home for me. I was recently diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer and am currently undergoing eight rounds of chemotherapy, which will be followed by surgery and radiation. It has been an overwhelming diagnosis that has impacted virtually every area of my life—from the wig I wear to cover my bald head to the fatigue and loss of appetite that I typically experience after each round of chemo. Someone compared chemo to “being hit by a bus,” and that’s exactly what it feels like.

APIC promotes “Infection Prevention and You”

Categories: HAI Guidelines, Healthcare-associated infections

Infection Prevention and You banner

Guest Author – Vicki G. Allen, MSN, RN, CIC
Manager of the Infection Prevention and Control Department
CaroMont Regional Medical Center

This year APIC is marking International Infection Prevention Week (IIPW), October 20-26, by launching a multiyear campaign themed "Infection Prevention and You.” The focus is to engage everyone — patients, families, and healthcare personnel — in infection prevention, as well as to promote a voice and a partnership toward receiving quality and safe patient care.

APIC’s new Infection Prevention and You APIC’s new “Infection Prevention and You” website will be continually updated and revised to reflect the most current information. For example, we recently added a page on preventing infection in the locker room. One section of the website is geared to patients and families, and the other is geared to healthcare personnel who are not necessarily infection preventionists. The resources are aimed at helping everyone understand their role in infection prevention and patient safety. The website includes tips and tools including a new infographic [PDF – 1.25 MB] that depicts how patients and families [PDF – 554 KB] can play an active role, what healthcare-associated infections [PDF – 491 KB] are, and what infection preventionists do to keep patients safe.

What Happens in the Outpatient Clinic Doesn’t Always Stay in the Outpatient Clinic: Lessons from a Regional Outbreak of Adenovirus-associated Epidemic Keratoconjunctivitis (EKC)

Categories: Healthcare-associated infections, Outpatient Care, State HAI Prevention

Andrew Wiese, MPH

Andrew Wiese, MPH

Author – Andrew Wiese, MPH
Applied Epidemiology Fellow
Tennessee Department of Health
CDC, Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE)

This week’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) includes a description of six separate outbreaks of Adenovirus-associated epidemic keratoconjunctivitis (EKC) in four different states. These outbreaks were mainly associated with outpatient eye care.

Last August, as a new CDC/CSTE Applied Epidemiology fellow in the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH), I experienced firsthand an outbreak that was similar to those described in the MMWR. We were contacted by a concerned patient who experienced severe conjunctivitis after receiving care at a local ophthalmology clinic and was aware of similarly affected patients.  I was asked to help lead the investigation.

Communication with the clinic identified gaps related to cohorting of suspected cases, procedures for disinfection of equipment and surfaces, and the policy for the appropriate length of time ill staff should be kept from patient contact.  Our TDH team then guided implementation of appropriate infection control practices to prevent further transmission.  While our investigation identified ninety cases of EKC at the clinic, only a single case from the clinic occurred after the health department’s intervention.

One Hospital, One Heart, Let’s Get Together to Control VRE (Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci)

Categories: Healthcare-associated infections, Long Term Care (LTC)

Bruce Y. Lee, MD, MBA

Bruce Y. Lee, MD, MBA

Authors – Bruce Y. Lee, MD, MBA

Associate Professor of International Health and Director of Operations Research
International Vaccine Access Center
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Think when another hospital in a region has a vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) bacteria problem that it’s their problem and not your hospital’s problem? Think again. As demonstrated by our recent computer modeling study published in the American Journal of Infection Control, a VRE problem in one hospital can soon spread to hospitals throughout a county. This is because hospitals are connected to each other by patient sharing: a patient colonized with VRE leaving one hospital can readily end up in another hospital, either by direct transfer or after an intervening stay in the community.
Therefore, (if it hasn’t already done so), VRE may be coming soon to a hospital near you. And the VRE movie can be a horror show for healthcare workers and patients. The VRE bacteria are resistant to vancomycin, a dear old last line of defense in our antibiotic arsenal. When vancomycin doesn’t work, few alternatives are left to treat life-threatening infections.
To study the spread of VRE, our computer modeling “Avengers” team used RHEA (the Regional Healthcare Ecosystem Analyst, a software platform developed by us) to build a computer virtual representation of all the hospitals in Orange County, California, and their patients and surrounding community (instead of SimCity, think SimHospitals-in-Orange-County). This “virtual laboratory” allowed us to perform experiments that you should not do in real life, such as infecting different virtual patients with VRE and seeing how soon VRE appeared or increased in other hospitals or demonstrating how hospitals making no attempt to control VRE could “free-ride” on the efforts of hospitals that do.
These experiments demonstrated that, in the spirit of Bob Marley’s song “One Love”, we are in fact “one hospital, “one heart”, so let’s work together to control VRE. The question is, how can we best make this happen?

Time for change? Lessons from a trial of the Dialysis Station Routine Disinfection Checklist

Categories: Dialysis, Healthcare-associated infections

Peggy Bushey RN, CDN

Peggy Bushey RN, CDN

Authors – Peggy Bushey RN, CDN, Renal Services
Linda Fosher, RN, Renal Services
Sally Hess MPH, CIC, Infection Prevention
Fletcher Allen Health Care, Burlington Vermont

The risk of transmitting bloodborne pathogens, including hepatitis C virus, in a hemodialysis unit can be high due to environmental contamination with blood.

Our clinic recently participated in a “test of change” utilizing a new Dialysis Station Routine Disinfection Checklist developed by CDC and their Dialysis Collaborative in hopes of decreasing the potential for cross-contamination and recommending a “best practice.”

The St. Albans clinic is a free standing, 9-station hemodialysis unit staffed by registered nurses and technicians. We are one of six satellites affiliated with Fletcher Allen Health Care, an academic, not-for-profit medical center in the state of Vermont.

We reviewed the proposed Dialysis Station Routine Disinfection Checklist noting that the major difference from our current practice was discharging the patient from the treatment station before performing terminal station disinfection. Staff agreed to a one week trial of the new checklist, if only to prove that this “waiting for the patient to leave the station” was not truly feasible.

Initially, the change in workflow was challenging. Staff felt time was wasted waiting for the patient to leave the station before starting to disinfect it. Patient turnover was extended by 10-15 minutes with an overall increase of approximately 20-30 minutes for the day. If patients required prolonged post-treatment care, they were moved out of the station and into a holding area.

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