Access to clean water, soap, and basic cleaning products may seem like a given in our nation, leading many of us to overlook the impact poverty can have on hygiene. In the United States alone, the statistics are staggering: 33% of low-income households report bathing without soap when they can't afford it, 32% report reusing diapers, and 74% skip doing laundry or dishes to save on supplies. It can seem that hygiene products are not as great a priority as nutrition, shelter, or clothing, but hygiene has a direct impact on health, especially for those struggling with a chronic condition or patients receiving "hospital at home" care. In this blog post, we will explore this concept of "hygiene poverty," its consequences, and the urgent need for collective action.
With a Presidential Inauguration taking place in the midst of a global pandemic, we have the opportunity to look at how past president's have dealt with pathogen outbreaks. Pre-antibiotic presidents faced illnesses in their personal lives alongside their fellow Americans, often with tragic results. Once vaccines were available, presidents often took leading roles to promote their use, both through public statements and through policy. But it was the very first president who actually took first-hand steps to stop an epidemic, steps that may have allowed for the very birth of our nation.
Achieving and maintaining sanitized surfaces in hospitals requires an arsenal cleaning and disinfecting products, with quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs or QUATs) being a popular choice. However, as with all cleaners and disinfectants, there are both benefits and risks to their use. In today's post, we'll explore the use of quaternary ammonium compounds and some growing concerns about their impact.
The first African-American to join the American Society for Microbiology was a woman. The first African-American to receive a PhD in Microbiology was a woman. And that woman, who overcame obstacles not only related to race but also gender, was Dr. Ruth E. Moore. We take a moment today to recognize this important scientist, whose contributions to the field as a researcher, professor, and leader have inspired generations of microbiologists.
It's no wonder why we have long associated the heart with life and love. It races when we are nervous or exerting ourselves. It beats with comforting regularity, loud enough for us to hear when we rest our heads against a loved ones chest. Its pulse is an indicator of health and life, a central hub keeping our body functioning. And unfortunately, when this central hub is affected by an infection, the entire body is at risk. Today we will explore how hospital-acquired infections can affect the heart, often with far-reaching implications.
One of the many concepts that have entered the public consciousness since the COVID-19 pandemic is the idea of healthcare equity. Issues of race are being brought up with respect to voting and education, but specifically within healthcare, the focus has been on access to quality medical care and equal treatment by medical professionals. In today's post, we'll look at some of the ways innovative technologies can help make healthcare more equitable.
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.
Hospitals are the setting for countless decisions each day, decisions that impact patient outcomes, financial investments, community health and so much more. Decisions about the prevention of healthcare associated infections take place at all levels of a hospital hierarchy, from the environmental services cleaner to the Chief Executive Officer. In today’s post, we will look at who makes these critical decisions that impact patient safety, staff well-being, and the overall resilience of a healthcare system.
In earlier posts, we've examined the degree of cleanliness required for specific items as well as what the EPA requires to make claims about cleanliness. Today we will look at how the various items in a patient room are categorized to determine the required level and frequency of cleaning.