Recent reports brought a stunning number to light: 42% of deaths due to COVID-19 have taken place in long-term residential facilities. Just .61% of our population lives in a residential facility (nursing home or assisted living facility), making this disproportionate death rate truly shocking. While deaths in these facilities are high in part because of the health of the residents, we cannot overlook the fact that the virus spread within the facility, affecting both patients and staff. This means that for many of these cases, COVID-19 was a healthcare-associated infection, or HAI. In today's post, we'll look at what made it so easy for the virus to spread so fatally within long-term facilities.
I just touched that door! What could be on it? Oh no - I also pushed that elevator button and that person just coughed!
Recent headlines about the spread of the virus causing COVID-19 are misleading. They seem to imply that the CDC has reevaluated how important surfaces are in the spread of the virus. In reality, the CDC page getting so much attention has only rewritten a heading, leaving the actual advice regarding surfaces intact. The advice remains the same because the science remains the same. We'll explore this in today's post.
Surface disinfection has become the new normal. Today's post takes the concept of a high school geometry proof to connect contaminated environments to infected patients. Although this research is in healthcare settings the concept applies to all surfaces in all environments. Rest assured, you’re not crazy for questioning the last time the shopping cart handle, mass transit grab rail, or door push plate you just touched was wiped down.
It's hard to quantify the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on healthcare. We can list numbers of lives lost, ventilators used, masks needed, or swabs ordered. But outside the crisis caused directly by the spread of COVID-19, there is a ripple effect on other aspects of healthcare. In today's post, we'll look at the health crisis within the health crisis - the issues leading to additional strain on our health care system and our patient populations.
While the general population may use terms like sterilizer, disinfectant and sanitizer interchangeably, they actually have very specific definitions according to the government agency that regulates them, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These definitions include what percentage of pathogens must be killed, in what specific amount of time they must be killed, and what protocols must be tested to achieve registration. All of these parameters are defined by the EPA and are not chosen or designated by the manufacturer.
These past few weeks we have been exploring what we can learn from infection preventionists as we navigate life during a pandemic. Especially now as more of us prepare to leave self-isolation and shelter-in-place, we need to learn from the experts how best to stay safe and keep others safe. In today's post, we'll look at the two types of major personal protective equipment (PPE) you may be using as you re-enter work, appointments, and recreation: Masks and gloves. At the end, you'll also find our infographic with visual representation of the different kinds of masks and the glove removal process.
During this ongoing pandemic, nurses are receiving some well deserved gratitude for their critical role in caring for patients. We couldn't get through this without them. There is no health care professional more engaged in infection control than a nurse. While the nursing profession offers many levels of responsibility and mastery, every nurse bears the responsibility of controlling and preventing healthcare-acquired infections. In today's post, in honor of National Nurses Week, we will explore the many ways that nurses help keep us safe from healthcare-associated infections (HAIs).
There are no better professionals to emulate than infection preventionists during this time of transition between social distancing and returning to the new normal. These are skilled healthcare workers that know what it takes to keep infections from spreading - or from infecting in the first place. What can we learn from these healthcare professionals as we return to work and life after stay-at-home orders?
As states consider timelines for re-opening their communities to work and recreation, we are experiencing an interesting convergence. Just as we are looking ahead to what the data needs to show in order to reopen safely, we are also looking back at the earliest cases to learn more about the disease. Why is it so important to revisit early cases, seek out overlooked cases, and even assign probable cases? In today's post, we'll examine how knowing as much as possible about the past can help us prepare for the future.