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To assess influenza symptoms, adherence to mask use recommendations, absenteesm and presenteeism in acute care healthcare workers (HCWs) during influenza epidemics.
The TransFLUas influenza transmission study in acute healthcare prospectively followed HCWs prospectively over 2 consecutive influenza seasons. Symptom diaries asking for respiratory symptoms and adherence with mask use recommendations were recorded on a daily basis, and study participants provided midturbinate nasal swabs for influenza testing.
In total, 152 HCWs (65.8% nurses and 13.2% physicians) were included: 89.1% of study participants reported at least 1 influenza symptom during their study season and 77.8% suffered from respiratory symptoms. Also, 28.3% of HCW missed at least 1 working day during the study period: 82.6% of these days were missed because of symptoms of influenza illness. Of all participating HCWs, 67.9% worked with symptoms of influenza infection on 8.8% of study days. On 0.3% of study days, symptomatic HCWs were shedding influenza virus while at work. Among HCWs with respiratory symptoms, 74.1% adhered to the policy to wear a mask at work on 59.1% of days with respiratory symptoms.
Respiratory disease is frequent among HCWs and imposes a significant economic burden on hospitals due to the number of working days lost. Presenteesm with respiratory illness, including influenza, is also frequent and poses a risk for patients and staff.
Background: Adults are at risk of being exposed to influenza from many sources. Healthcare personnel (HCP) have the additional risk of being exposed to ill patients.
To determine whether HCP were at higher risk than adults working in nonhealthcare roles (non-HCP).
Prospective cohort study.
Acute-care hospitals and other businesses in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Adults aged 18–69 years were enrolled for 1 or more of the 2010/2011, 2011/2012, and 2012/2013 influenza seasons. Swabs collected during acute respiratory illnesses were tested for influenza and pre- and postseason blood samples were tested for influenza-specific immune response.
The adjusted odds of influenza were similar for HCP and non-HCP (odds ratio [OR], 1.29; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.63–2.63). Older adults and those vaccinated against influenza had lower odds, and those who shared their workspace and who used corrective eyewear had higher odds of influenza.
HCP and other working adults are at similar risk of influenza infection.
Healthcare workers (HCWs) are at risk of acquiring and transmitting respiratory viruses while working in healthcare settings.
To investigate the incidence of and factors associated with HCWs working during an acute respiratory illness (ARI).
HCWs from 9 Canadian hospitals were prospectively enrolled in active surveillance for ARI during the 2010–2011 to 2013–2014 influenza seasons. Daily illness diaries during ARI episodes collected information on symptoms and work attendance.
At least 1 ARI episode was reported by 50.4% of participants each study season. Overall, 94.6% of ill individuals reported working at least 1 day while symptomatic, resulting in an estimated 1.9 days of working while symptomatic and 0.5 days of absence during an ARI per participant season. In multivariable analysis, the adjusted relative risk of working while symptomatic was higher for physicians and lower for nurses relative to other HCWs. Participants were more likely to work if symptoms were less severe and on the illness onset date compared to subsequent days. The most cited reason for working while symptomatic was that symptoms were mild and the HCW felt well enough to work (67%). Participants were more likely to state that they could not afford to stay home if they did not have paid sick leave and were younger.
HCWs worked during most episodes of ARI, most often because their symptoms were mild. Further data are needed to understand how best to balance the costs and risks of absenteeism versus those associated with working while ill.
To describe the frequency, characteristics, and exposure associated with influenza in hospitalized patients in a Toronto hospital
Prospective data collected for consenting patients with laboratory-confirmed influenza and a retrospective review of infection control charts for roommates of cases over 3 influenza seasons
Of the 661 patients with influenza (age range: 1 week–103 years), 557 were placed on additional precautions upon admission. Of 104 with symptoms detected after admission, 57 cases were community onset and 47 were nosocomial (10 nosocomial were part of outbreaks). A total of 78 cases were detected after admission exposing 143 roommates. Among roommates tested for influenza after exposure, no roommates of community-onset cases and 2 of 16 roommates of nosocomial cases were diagnosed with influenza. Of 637 influenza-infected patients, 25% and 57% met influenza-like illness definitions from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), respectively, and 70.3% met the Provincial Infectious Diseases Advisory Committee (PIDAC) febrile respiratory illness definition. Among the 56 patients with community-onset influenza detected after admission, only 13%, 23%, and 34%, met PHAC, CDC, and PIDAC classifications, respectively.
In a setting with extensive screening and testing for influenza, 1 in 6 patients with influenza was not diagnosed until patients and healthcare workers had been exposed for >24 hours. Only 30% of patients with community-onset influenza detected after admission met the Ontario definition intended to identify cases, hampering efforts to prevent patient and healthcare worker exposures and reinforcing the need for prevention through vaccination.
To explore the frequency of hand hygiene opportunities (HHOs) in multiple units of an acute-care hospital.
Prospective observational study.
The adult intensive care unit (ICU), medical and surgical step-down units, medical and surgical units, and the postpartum mother–baby unit (MBU) of an academic acute-care hospital during May–August 2013, May–July 2014, and June–August 2015.
Healthcare workers (HCWs).
HHOs were recorded using direct observation in 1-hour intervals following Public Health Ontario guidelines. The frequency and distribution of HHOs per patient hour were determined for each unit according to time of day, indication, and profession.
In total, 3,422 HHOs were identified during 586 hours of observation. The mean numbers of HHOs per patient hour in the ICU were similar to those in the medical and surgical step-down units during the day and night, which were higher than the rates observed in medical and surgical units and the MBU. The rate of HHOs during the night significantly decreased compared with day (P<.0001). HHOs before an aseptic procedure comprised 13% of HHOs in the ICU compared with 4%–9% in other units. Nurses contributed >92% of HHOs on medical and surgical units, compared to 67% of HHOs on the MBU.
Assessment of hand hygiene compliance using product utilization data requires knowledge of the appropriate opportunities for hand hygiene. We have provided a detailed characterization of these estimates across a wide range of inpatient settings as well as an examination of temporal variations in HHOs.
Identify factors affecting the rate of hand hygiene opportunities in an acute care hospital.
Prospective observational study.
Medical and surgical in-patient units, medical-surgical intensive care unit (MSICU), neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), and emergency department (ED) of an academic acute care hospital from May to August, 2012.
One-hour patient-based observations measured patient interactions and hand hygiene opportunities as defined by the “Four Moments for Hand Hygiene.” Rates of patient interactions and hand hygiene opportunities per patient-hour were calculated, examining variation by room type, healthcare worker type, and time of day.
During 257 hours of observation, 948 healthcare worker-patient interactions and 1,605 hand hygiene opportunities were identified. Moments 1, 2, 3, and 4 comprised 42%, 10%, 9%, and 39% of hand hygiene opportunities. Nurses contributed 77% of opportunities, physicians contributed 8%, other healthcare workers contributed 11%, and housekeeping contributed 4%. The mean rate of hand hygiene opportunities per patient-hour was 4.2 for surgical units, 4.5 for medical units, 5.2 for ED, 10.4 for NICU, and 13.2 for MSICU (P < .001). In non-ICU settings, rates of hand hygiene opportunities decreased over the course of the day. Patients with transmission-based precautions had approximately half as many interactions (rate ratio [RR], 0.55 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.37-0.80]) and hand hygiene opportunities per hour (RR, 0.47 [95% CI, 0.29-0.77]) as did patients without precautions.
Measuring hand hygiene opportunities across clinical settings lays the groundwork for product use-based hand hygiene measurement. Additional work is needed to assess factors affecting rates in other hospitals and health care settings.