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The purpose of this document is to highlight practical recommendations to assist acute-care hospitals in prioritization and implementation of strategies to prevent healthcare-associated infections through hand hygiene. This document updates the Strategies to Prevent Healthcare-Associated Infections in Acute Care Hospitals through Hand Hygiene, published in 2014. This expert guidance document is sponsored by the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology (SHEA). It is the product of a collaborative effort led by SHEA, the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, the American Hospital Association, and The Joint Commission, with major contributions from representatives of a number of organizations and societies with content expertise.
We compared the effectiveness of 4 sampling methods to recover Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Clostridioides difficile from contaminated environmental surfaces: cotton swabs, RODAC culture plates, sponge sticks with manual agitation, and sponge sticks with a stomacher. Organism type was the most important factor in bacterial recovery.
The rapid spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) required swift preparation to protect healthcare personnel (HCP) and patients, especially considering shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE). Due to the lack of a pre-existing biocontainment unit, we needed to develop a novel approach to placing patients in isolation cohorts while working with the pre-existing physical space.
To prevent disease transmission to non–COVID-19 patients and HCP caring for COVID-19 patients, to optimize PPE usage, and to provide a comfortable and safe working environment.
An interdisciplinary workgroup developed a combination of approaches to convert existing spaces into COVID-19 containment units with high-risk zones (HRZs). We developed standard workflow and visual management in conjunction with updated staff training and workflows. The infection prevention team created PPE standard practices for ease of use, conservation, and staff safety.
The interventions resulted in 1 possible case of patient-to-HCP transmission and zero cases of patient-to-patient transmission. PPE usage decreased with the HRZ model while maintaining a safe environment of care. Staff on the COVID-19 units were extremely satisfied with PPE availability (76.7%) and efforts to protect them from COVID-19 (72.7%). Moreover, 54.8% of HCP working in the COVID-19 unit agreed that PPE monitors played an essential role in staff safety.
The HRZ model of containment unit is an effective method to prevent the spread of COVID-19 with several benefits. It is easily implemented and scaled to accommodate census changes. Our experience suggests that other institutions do not need to modify existing physical structures to create similarly protective spaces.
Overall, engagement and compliance from the crowd-sourced hand hygiene observation program, Clean-In-Clean-Out (CICO), were similar between 2019 (96.6%) and 2020 (96.7%) despite fluctuations within 2020 that reflected our hospital’s coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) experience. Shared responsibility and just-in-time reminders can allow manual hand hygiene observation models to be sustainable.
Hospital-associated fungal infections from construction and renovation activities can be mitigated using an infection control risk assessment (ICRA) and implementation of infection prevention measures. The effectiveness of these measures depends on proper installation and maintenance. Consistent infection prevention construction rounding with feedback is key to ongoing compliance.
We evaluated the ability of an ultraviolet-C (UV-C) room decontamination device to kill Candida auris and C. albicans. With an organic challenge (fetal calf serum), the UV-C device demonstrated the following log10 reductions for C. auris of 4.57 and for C. albicans of 5.26 with direct line of sight, and log10 reductions for C. auris of 2.41 and for C. ablicans of 3.96 with indirect line of sight.
This SHEA white paper identifies knowledge gaps and challenges in healthcare epidemiology research related to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) with a focus on core principles of healthcare epidemiology. These gaps, revealed during the worst phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, are described in 10 sections: epidemiology, outbreak investigation, surveillance, isolation precaution practices, personal protective equipment (PPE), environmental contamination and disinfection, drug and supply shortages, antimicrobial stewardship, healthcare personnel (HCP) occupational safety, and return to work policies. Each section highlights three critical healthcare epidemiology research questions with detailed description provided in supplementary materials. This research agenda calls for translational studies from laboratory-based basic science research to well-designed, large-scale studies and health outcomes research. Research gaps and challenges related to nursing homes and social disparities are included. Collaborations across various disciplines, expertise and across diverse geographic locations will be critical.
Immunocompromised patients are at risk for infections due to above-ceiling activities in hospitals. Mobile dust-containment carts are available as environmental controls, but no published data support their efficacy. Using microbial air sampling and particle counts, we provide evidence of reduced risk of fungal exposure during open ceiling activities.
To compare the microbicidal activity of low-temperature sterilization technologies (vaporized hydrogen peroxide [VHP], ethylene oxide [ETO], and hydrogen peroxide gas plasma [HPGP]) to steam sterilization in the presence of salt and serum to simulate inadequate precleaning.
Test carriers were inoculated with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus, Mycobacterium terrae, Bacillus atrophaeus spores, Geobacillus stearothermophilus spores, or Clostridiodes difficile spores in the presence of salt and serum and then subjected to 4 sterilization technologies: steam, ETO, VHP and HPGP.
Steam, ETO, and HPGP sterilization techniques were capable of inactivating the test organisms on stainless steel carriers with a failure rate of 0% (0 of 220), 1.9% (6 of 310), and 1.9% (5 of 270), respectively. The failure rate for VHP was 76.3% (206 of 270).
Steam sterilization is the most effective and had the largest margin of safety, followed by ETO and HPGP, but VHP showed much less efficacy.
We describe the delivery of real-time feedback on hand hygiene compliance between healthcare personnel over a 3-year time period via a crowdsourcing web-based application. Feedback delivery as a metric can be used to examine and improve a culture of safety within a healthcare setting.
Clonal Mycobacterium mucogenicum isolates (determined by molecular typing) were recovered from 19 bronchoscopic specimens from 15 patients. None of these patients had evidence of mycobacterial infection. Laboratory culture materials and bronchoscopes were negative for Mycobacteria. This pseudo-outbreak was caused by contaminated ice used to provide bronchoscopic lavage. Control was achieved by transitioning to sterile ice.
To update current estimates of non–device-associated pneumonia (ND pneumonia) rates and their frequency relative to ventilator associated pneumonia (VAP), and identify risk factors for ND pneumonia.
Academic teaching hospital.
All adult hospitalizations between 2013 and 2017 were included. Pneumonia (device associated and non–device associated) were captured through comprehensive, hospital-wide active surveillance using CDC definitions and methodology.
From 2013 to 2017, there were 163,386 hospitalizations (97,485 unique patients) and 771 pneumonia cases (520 ND pneumonia and 191 VAP). The rate of ND pneumonia remained stable, with 4.15 and 4.54 ND pneumonia cases per 10,000 hospitalization days in 2013 and 2017 respectively (P = .65). In 2017, 74% of pneumonia cases were ND pneumonia. Male sex and increasing age we both associated with increased risk of ND pneumonia. Additionally, patients with chronic bronchitis or emphysema (hazard ratio [HR], 2.07; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.40–3.06), congestive heart failure (HR, 1.48; 95% CI, 1.07–2.05), or paralysis (HR, 1.72; 95% CI, 1.09–2.73) were also at increased risk, as were those who were immunosuppressed (HR, 1.54; 95% CI, 1.18–2.00) or in the ICU (HR, 1.49; 95% CI, 1.06–2.09). We did not detect a change in ND pneumonia risk with use of chlorhexidine mouthwash, total parenteral nutrition, all medications of interest, and prior ventilation.
The incidence rate of ND pneumonia did not change from 2013 to 2017, and 3 of 4 nosocomial pneumonia cases were non–device associated. Hospital infection prevention programs should consider expanding the scope of surveillance to include non-ventilated patients. Future research should continue to look for modifiable risk factors and should assess potential prevention strategies.