The weeks between mid-September and mid-October has been National Hispanic Heritage Month since the late 1980s. During this month, the nation takes time to recognize the important role played by American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central/South America. The 2023 theme is "Todos Somos, Somos Unos: We Are All, We Are One!" capturing the idea that in spite of our unique backgrounds, we are all intertwined and united by our shared humanity. In today's post, we'll share 5 resources you can use to explore or share the many contributions from Hispanic/Latino individuals in the fields of healthcare, infection prevention, and epidemiology.
With a few words, a family's life is forever changed: "It's cancer." For any patient, these words bring anxiety and fear. When that patient is a child, however, no words can express the emotions that send shock waves through a family, friends, and community. Today's post begins a three-part story of one such young patient, a little boy named Jack. (Best of all, Jack's story has a happy ending.) During Childhood Cancer Awareness Month join us as we see the challenges of pediatric cancer treatment and infection control through the eyes of a boy and his mother.
The Centers for Disease Control's Global Safe Healthcare division refers to infection prevention and control as "the cornerstone of a resilient healthcare system and protects health workers, patients, and the surrounding community." This quote got us thinking about the role of a cornerstone, and how it does indeed reflect the critical position IC plays in community health. In today's post, we'll see just how far this metaphor goes in capturing the many ways infection control and prevention impacts quality healthcare.
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.
The Veterans Health Administration has long been at the forefront of progress in reducing hospital-associated infections. Through adherence to best practices, investment in effective interventions, and thorough educational opportunities for staff, the VHA has been able to reduce the most common HAIs. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, the VHA was able to protect residents of long-term care facilities at levels unmatched outside of the federal agency. A huge part of this success is due to the multi-faceted Environmental Programs Service, which ensures that every aspect of the patient's environment is safe. In today's post, we will look at these facets, and how they come together to protect our honored veterans.
Twitter brought brevity and global outreach to social media. Founded in 2007, Twitter stood out from its competitors as a quick way to reach and follow anyone on the platform without having to be officially linked. The use of hashtags revolutionized social media, allowing users to categorize their tweets and search for others talking about the same topics (across all platforms). These same features elevated Twitter to rank as one of the top social networks, while recent changes and rebranding efforts make it the slowest-growing platform. We don't know what the future holds for Twitter/X, but while it is still being used by almost a quarter of Americans, here is a brief guide to ways it can enhance your career as an infection preventionist!
Eradicating pathogens from environmental surfaces in hospitals is a daily fight. Keeping bacteria from reproducing on surfaces, finding reservoirs in hard-to-clean areas, and forming biofilms requires daily disinfection, and ideally, some form of continuous mitigation. In today's post, we will look at the threats posed by bacteria that are even more adept at surviving on surfaces: Spore-forming bacteria, and how hospitals are trying to keep these persistent pathogens from threatening their patients.
In our previous posts about DALYs and QALYs, we have defined the terms and presented how the healthcare field calculates these two measures of disease burden. In today's post, we will narrow our view to just hospital-associated infections and their disease burden. After reading this post, you should have a more detailed picture of the impact HAIs have on American lives.
Large-scale healthcare projects, from new projects to renovations, face a challenging future. After the tedious process of securing permits and getting approved plans and even issuing press releases, many of these ambitious projects stall due to financial pressures. Increasingly, healthcare systems may hit the pause button as they take a closer look at cost-benefits, with emphases on expanding market share and reducing cost of care. In today's post, we will look at how a healthcare project can help achieve both goals by focusing on proven infection prevention infrastructure.
In today's healthcare marketplace, it is growing commonplace to consider patients as customers - and the shoe fits, so to speak. Patients do have choices when it comes to medical care, and now have plenty of ratings and data points to consider when selecting a physician, an outpatient center, a hospital or a long-term care facility. One of those data points is patient experience, which encompasses the many interactions with medical staff, facilities, and representatives. In today's post, we will consider the measurable aspects of the patient experience, including infection control and prevention.