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.
Bacteria have been around for, oh, 3.5 billion years or so. They didn't achieve this longevity without collecting a few tricks up their sleeves. Among them is the ability to adapt to their environments from one generation to the next, activating certain genes during times of distress, changes in humidity, and access to nutrients. The resulting tricks are known collectively as "resistance." Bacteria can become resistant to antibiotics such as penicillin, creating dangerous drug-resistant strains. They can also become resistant to disinfectants, including those used in today's hospitals. In today's post, we'll learn why that matters.
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.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released a report addressing the impact COVID-19 has had on antimicrobial resistance. While other reports have covered the incidence of hospital-associated infections during COVID, this report focused on the prevalence of drug-resistant strains of the pathogens causing the HAIs. The report reveals that the top drug-resistant pathogens are transmitted via contaminated surfaces, which become reservoirs for these strains that elude our most powerful treatments. In today's post, we will share their findings and their implications for infection prevention.
In a previous posts, we explored the idea of evidence-based design, the place where science and aesthetics join forces to help patients and healthcare professionals. Today's post highlights one of today's hybrid designers who is paving the way towards the hospital room of the future, Megan Kalina. This Medical Planner's ideas come to life in life-saving healthcare facilities around the country.
Overbed tables are essential in patient rooms. They serve as a surface for food trays, and can hold personal items such as phones, computers, or books. Even healthcare workers uses overbed tables for holding medical devices or supplies. All this usage means one thing: Overbed tables are one of the most-touched and most-contaminated surfaces in a patient room.
Among the many lessons we all learned from the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic was that our nation's long-term care facilities struggle to protect residents from healthcare associated infections. These medical facilities straddle two worlds: They endeavor to create a home-like, social atmosphere while also providing specialized medical care to vulnerable patients. The heartbreaking result, magnified by the pandemic, is the rapid transmission of infections leading to severe illness and death. In today's post, we will learn about a new certification program that supports calls to improve infection control in long-term care facilities.