Memorial Day: Remembering Our Troops' Most Lethal Enemy

by Erica Mitchell | May 28 2024

On Memorial Day, we remember those men and women who died serving our country as a member of the armed forces. Traditionally, the day is set aside to remember those who died in combat. We add to that tradition today, remembering those who died fighting for our country, even as they lost the battle to war’s deadliest opponent: Disease.

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The Downsides of Contact Precautions

by Erica Mitchell | May 22 2024

Ever since we first realized that disease could spread through physical contact, medical workers have used barriers to reduce the transmission of germs. Today, the use of gloves, gowns, caps, and other personal protective equipment is the standard for invasive procedures, but it is also used for everyday contact with patients who require isolation. Patients may be put under contact precautions for two reasons: Either to prevent pathogens from entering the room or to prevent pathogens from leaving the room. If a patient is especially vulnerable to pathogens, he or she would need to be protected from pathogens entering the room. The second reason contact precautions are used is when a patient is colonized or infected with a multi-drug resistant organism such as MRSA, VRE, or CRE. In these cases, contact precautions are implemented to prevent pathogens from leaving the room in an effort to protect all the other patients in the hospital. This use of contact precautions is more controversial because the evidence for how effective contact precautions are to reducing transmission is mixed, thereby providing enough doubt as to open the discussion up to consider the downsides of contact precautions.

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What is a Critical Access Hospital?

by Erica Mitchell | May 20 2024

Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) play an important role in today's healthcare system. Most (45) states have at least one of the over 1,300 CAHs, but states with a high proportion of rural regions depend far more on these small facilities. In today's post, we'll look at what led to the creation of this hospital designation, the vital service they provide their communities, and how they intersect with infection control and prevention issues.

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The Most Contaminated and Most Touched Surfaces in a Patient Room

by Erica Mitchell | May 16 2024

I just touched that door! What could be on it? Oh no - I also pushed that elevator button and that person just coughed! Are these some of your common thoughts in high-traffic areas such as airports, stadiums, or healthcare facilities, especially in our more anxious post-COVID lives? Do you wonder how clean your airplane tray, movie seat arm rests, or hotel room phone are? You are not alone. Our area of concern is health care facilities, so let's look at those in more detail in today's post.

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Data Validation & Infection Control and Prevention

by Erica Mitchell | May 13 2024

Surveillance and reporting are essential components of any facility’s infection control program. However, as Boromir might say, one does not simply collect and report data to the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN). Before data can be reported, it must be validated first internally by the reporting facility and then externally by an external agency. But what is data validation? In today’s post, we will unfurl the map and trace data’s path from Hobbiton your facility to Mordor the NHSN.

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Nurses: On The Front Lines of Infection Control

by Erica Mitchell | May 9 2024

This is a challenging time for nurses. With critically understaffed facilities, strikes, and the growing commercialization of healthcare, nurses find themselves being pulled between fulfilling their calling to help others, and finding a position that fulfills their own needs for a healthy work/life balance. The field of infection control is heavily impacted by the challenges faced by nurses. There is no health care professional more engaged in infection control than a nurse.  In today's post, in honor of National Nurses Week, we will explore just how vital nurses are when it comes to infection control and prevention: We couldn't do it without them. 

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What is a Remote Infection Preventionist?

by Erica Mitchell | May 6 2024

A remote infection preventionist is a professional who specializes in preventing the spread of infections within healthcare settings, but performs their duties remotely. A remote infection preventionist can work as a part of a larger team sub-contracted by the healthcare facility, or be directly employed by the facility. However, as the field of infection control and prevention (IP) faces challenges in staffing, funding, and substantial job responsibilities, outsourcing some aspects of IP may be a trend that is here for the foreseeable future. In today's post, we will examine which aspects of IP can be performed remotely, how far this trend has spread, and what the future may hold for the remote infection preventionist.

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