Erica Mitchell

Recent Posts

7 Ways ASHE's new ICRA 2.0 Takes Out the Guesswork

by Erica Mitchell | May 15 2022

Projects to improve the patient's environment are critical to optimizing patient outcomes. Getting rid of moisture-trapping materials, opening rooms up to natural light, and installation of biocidal materials to kill bacteria are all important construction projects for today's medical facility. Construction, however, comes with its own risks which must be anticipated. The American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE) released an updated Infection Control Risk Assessment (ICRA 2.0) tool, the result of several years of expert collaboration. The tool is a 4-step process to guide healthcare facilities on how to mitigate infection risk during maintenance or construction projects. In today's post, we will highlight 7 improvements to the new tool, and implications for the infection preventionists tasked with supervising their implementation.

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The Golden Age of Microbiology, Part 3

by Erica Mitchell | May 11 2022

Exploration of the Golden Age of Microbiology would not be complete without a look at how its discoveries impacted hospitals and medical care. Today’s post takes us into the 1800s hospital, where the “good old surgical stink” was just as familiar as the blood-stained aprons worn (with some pride) by doctors. In fact, that “stink” was what led one pioneering microbiologist to make a very helpful connection.

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6 Challenges for Infection Prevention at Mental Health Facilities

by Erica Mitchell | May 9 2022

Mental health facilities, including behavioral health and addiction treatment centers, present unique challenges to infection control. While most residents may not require the invasive surgery or indwelling devices most associated with hospital-acquired infections, these patients remain vulnerable to these preventable conditions. In today's post, we'll explore 6 challenges faced by infection control professionals in a mental health setting.

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The Golden Age of Microbiology: Part 2

by Erica Mitchell | May 4 2022

Last week's post introduced the work of Louis Pasteur, the father of microbiology. It was not long after Pasteur proposed that microorganisms were to blame for food spoilage that someone would make the leap that infection could, too, also be caused by microorganisms. That man (who would become a great scientific rival to Pasteur) came to be known as the founder of modern bacteriology.

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Fast-Tracking Medical Innovations: 5 Things Your Facility Can Expect

by Erica Mitchell | May 2 2022

You go to a professional conference and learn about an exciting new medical innovation. You think it might work at your facility, so you go ahead and authorize its purchase and are ready to go. Then you wake up from your daydream and remember all the steps required to get that exciting new innovation into your facility - if that is even possible. With a sigh, you move on to your next session, thinking, how can we fast-track those medical innovations that could really make a difference in patient outcomes? What would that take? In today's post, we'll look at some of the things your facility can expect if they want to fast-track a medical innovation, and some ideas to make that process successful.

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The Golden Age of Microbiology: Part 1

by Erica Mitchell | April 27 2022

Just over 150 years ago, the existence of bacteria was merely a hypothesis. Many scientists still believed that food spoilage and human infections were caused by spontaneous generation, inexplicable life from lifelessness. That all changed in the mid-1800s. It is appropriate that the light bulb was invented during this time as well, for this new era in biology shone a light on a whole new world of biology: microorganisms. And one man, the Father of Microbiology, would make breakthroughs in one decade that would revolutionize chemistry, biology, and medicine.


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Home Health Care and Infection Prevention: Preparing for the Future

by Erica Mitchell | April 25 2022

Home health care has been growing steadily for the past decade and shows no sign of slowing. A growing number of health care services are being provided in the home of the patient, including IV medications, enteral nutrition, injections, and wound care. There are many advantages to home health care: It is less expensive for the patient and third party payers (private insurance, Medicare), it is more comfortable and convenient for the patient, and it can have the same positive outcomes as a hospital or other medical facility. However, home health care does have disadvantages, including effective infection prevention. In today's post, we will look at four key issues in home health care infection control and prevention that will need to be resolved as we enter the future of home health care.

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The Pathogens That Made History: Consumption, Part 2

by Erica Mitchell | April 20 2022

In last week's post, we described a pervasive disease that so affected the global population that it found its way into visual, musical, and literary works of art for centuries. What was this horrible disease?

Tuberculosis.

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Fast-Tracking Medical Innovations: 5 Things To Expect

by Erica Mitchell | April 18 2022

In healthcare, we want fast innovation and instant implementation - but we also want our safety to be assured, and for our care to make sense financially. Sometimes it takes a national crisis to see just what is possible when it comes to moving quickly and safely toward medical solutions. The COVID pandemic, for example, helped us see the advantages of fast-tracking scientific innovation (a vaccine), but also showed us disadvantages (vaccine mistrust). In today's post, we'll explore 5 things to expect when trying to accelerate medical innovation, and in a future post, we will see how this national model of implementation and integration can be applied at the individual medical facility level, specifically, to infection control and prevention.

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The Pathogens That Made History: Consumption, Part 1

by Erica Mitchell | April 13 2022

Before we knew about germ theory and the microorganisms that caused disease, the illnesses that afflicted millions were mysteries. They acquired names that described their symptoms, their effect on behavior, or on the sheer numbers of people they killed. Without knowing anything about causes, treatment, or prevention, our ancestors feared “the wasting disease,” saw friends and relatives fall victim to “bilious fever,” and cared for loved ones stricken with “child bed fever,” “yellow jacket,” or “dysentery.”

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