A surprising product recall this week might remind healthcare workers of a known risk in hospital infection control and prevention: The contamination of cleaning supplies with dangerous bacteria (Clorox Pinesol Recall 2022). While most laypeople may not know this is even a possibility, infection preventionists know that cleaning solutions and equipment must be properly maintained or else insidious bacteria will find a way to colonize it. This recall brings to mind the other cleaning errors that hospitals work to prevent. In today's post, we will explore the most common mistakes made in cleaning and disinfecting a hospital room.
Epidemiology is a branch of medicine that studies the way disease moves through human populations, from outbreak to control. The word epidemic itself means “among the people,” used to describe a disease that affects an entire community. Today we will explore the role of the specialist dealing with disease in a very specific community, the hospital.
We have often discussed the different terms used to describe products that clean the patient environment in this blog. Using the correct terms, and understanding their full definitions, is a critical first step in both writing and learning about the field of infection control and prevention. One term that comes up often as we talk to folks not directly involved in the field is the broad term "antimicrobial." In today's post, we will look at how this broad term covers a huge variety of products and efficacy against pathogens, and we will provide some examples to put this word in context.
This week is International Infection Prevention Week (#IIPW) where we celebrate Infection Preventionists, the multi-faceted professionals who keep us safe from hospital-acquired infections. This week, we will explore the various pathways individuals can take to become one of these vital healthcare workers, including degrees and certifications.
In 2008, the medical field presented data to the federal government in support of funding to study antimicrobial resistance in hospital-associated pathogens. A leading figure in the effort, Dr. Louis B. Rice, had spent his career studying the mechanisms of antibiotic resistance and knew first-hand the threat presented by resistant pathogens as hospital-acquired infections. In his statement of support to continued funding of research, Dr. Rice coined a term that has become a useful acronym for anyone working in the field of infection prevention and control: ESKAPE pathogens. In today's post, we will discover these pathogens and the status of our fight against them since Dr. Rice first devised the term.
Consider a staff position "as important as the medical staff [since] an unclean and unsafe medical facility cannot function properly" (Healthsource, 2018). An employee who is "first line of defense against infections" (HFM, 2018). A worker whose "attention to detail sets the stage for a clean and safe healthcare environment" (ASHE, 2016). In the past, this individual might have been called a custodian, a word that captures responsibility, trust, and safe-keeping. Today, this critical healthcare staff member may be known as an environmental services technician, but the responsibility and trust remain. In today's post, we'll explore the push and pull from different priorities experienced by environmental services personnel.
Have you ever struggled with a gas nozzle that didn't fit, only to find it was for the wrong type of fuel? Or have you ever tried to add one last item to a running washing machine only to be confronted by a locked door? These and countless other mundane experiences are the result of error-proofing potentially dangerous or destructive equipment we use on a daily basis. Under the Toyota Production System developed in the 1960s, Shigeo Shingo used the term "poka-yoke," which means "avoid mistakes." This concept is now an integral part of many efficiency and safety systems: Planning for errors and designing ways to prevent them. In today's post, we'll explore how the concepts of poka-yoke could be applied to infection prevention.
In the 1970s, infection control and prevention became a specialty in it's own right. Since then, the role and expertise of the individual tasked with preventing and controlling infections has grown and evolved. Originally, individuals charged with hospital infection control typically had a nursing background and executed tasks closely related to a clinical nurse specialist - supervision, education, reporting, and clinical expertise. However, recent changes in accountability and hospital finance management have spurred an expansion of duties for this individual, now more appropriately called an "Infection Preventionist." What do these individuals do in a hospital? What are their job expectations and core competencies? Join us as we explore this vital profession within the field of healthcare.
This past week saw a devastating hurricane barrel into the United States. Hurricane Ian, which began as a tropical wave east of the Winward Islands, attained Category 4 designation as it reached the Gulf Coast of Florida. As it plowed across Central Florida, it brought sustained winds of 145 mph at the coast and 85 mph even as it reached the Atlantic Ocean two days later. As with all hurricanes of this magnitude, the dangers to life and limb are not limited to the duration of the actual storm- the weeks that follow bring a whole new set of dangerous conditions. Today's post will explore the dangers that involve infectious disease and the overall access to medical care.