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.