Who obsesses over the safety of a community's environment? Who knows all the building codes, chemical exposure limits, and fire retardant additives by heart? Who walks through a built space and can identify potential risks from air quality, radiation, ergonomics, violence, and stress without batting an eye? Why, it's the industrial hygienist, of course! Today we will explore this profession and its role in keeping us healthy and safe.
We know a lot (or actually most) of our posts about infection and hospitals can be terrifying. But here's some good news: A least you don't live in the time before antibiotics and infection control!
Germ theory, the idea that infection is caused by microscopic organisms unseen to the naked eye, is only a few hundred years old. This theory focuses on three main components.
- The reservoir: The person, animal, or surface that carries the infection.
- The mode of transmission: Via direct contact, a droplet of liquid, airborne, a vector (such as an insect), or a vehicle (food or surface)
- The susceptible host: A person and his/her ports of entry (nose, mouth, incision, medical device, wound)
But the paths from the reservoir to the susceptible host seem infinite. To narrow down the steps needed to prove this relationship between contaminated rooms and infected patients, researchers have proposed routes of transmission that could account for a relationship. Here are two proposals, both of which demonstrate the critical role played by surfaces in the transmission of pathogens.
There are many ways a hospital can be assured that it is performing well. They can conduct internal assessments of patient outcomes, look at patient surveys, and consider staff feedback. They can also get outside opinions from organizations whose sole purpose is to evaluate hospitals using national standards. Releasing the results of both internal and external evaluations enable transparency in healthcare, benefiting both the facility and the consumer. In today's post, we'll explore one of the more recent organizations that accredits hospitals, DNV GL.
We have all heard about validity and reliability in research. Validity tells us that your results actually measure what you wanted to measure. Reliability means your results can be consistently reproduced. But before either of those two attributes of research can be considered, there is fidelity: Did you conduct your research as planned? In today's post, we'll explore the lesser-known member of this research quality triumvirate.
So much of the success of infection control and prevention teams is the establishment of routines that promote best practices: Easy-to-access hand hygiene stations, checklists, terminal cleaning protocols, and a built environment that supports a lower bioburden all work together to help reduce transmission of pathogens. Disruptions to those routines open gaps where opportunistic microorganisms can sneak in and wreak havoc. While some of those disruptions can be avoided, there is a predictable, massive disruption facing all healthcare facilities: Renovation and construction projects. Today's post will explore some of the threats introduced by construction projects and what the facility can do to minimize HAIs.
Our efforts to reduce hospital acquired infections (HAIs) may have hit a challenging conundrum. On the one hand, we know that handwashing is essential to break the chain of transmission from infected (or colonized) host to vulnerable patient. On the other hand, one of the key tools in facilitating handwashing has been recently demonstrated to play a role in transmitting pathogens. That tool? The sink. Many think sinks are beginning to tip the balance toward doing more harm than good.
As a response to the growing global and national threat of antibiotic resistance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) established a network of labs whose sole mission is to help detect, prevent, contain and respond to outbreaks of antibiotic resistant pathogens. Today's post will explore this mission and how it is implemented.
There are many organizations that support healthcare facilities facing an outbreak. State and local public health departments, the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and many others all play a role in helping hospitals handle outbreak scenarios. In today's post, we'll explore the organization that brings them all together: CORHA.
One of the fastest-growing research sectors is the investigation of the human microbiome. We read articles about using the microbiome to keep us healthy and even to cure us from disease. What is the microbiome? In today’s post, we’ll explore this invisible but essential part of our existence.