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South Korea experienced Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreak in 2015. To mitigate the threat posed by MERS, the Ministry of Health and Center for Disease Control designated hospitals to be responsible for managing any suspected or confirmed infectious patient. These hospitals receive mandatory training in managing infectious patients, but many of the trainings lack practical skills practice and pandemic preparedness exercise.
To develop and evaluate a training course designed to train healthcare providers from designated hospitals to enhance their competencies in managing emerging infectious diseases and potential outbreaks.
A two-day course was developed by the Center for Disaster Relief, Training, and Research in collaboration with the Korea Health Promotion Institute using Kern’s 6-step approach. The course consisted of didactic lectures, technical skills training, tabletop simulation, and scenario-based simulation. Table-top simulation exercises consisted of cases involving a single infectious patient detected in the outpatient clinic and outbreak in the emergency department. Scenario-based simulation exercises involved managing a critically ill infectious patient in an isolated ward. A post-survey questionnaire was used to evaluate the course and assess the perception changes of the participants. All pre-to-post differences within subjects were analyzed with paired t-tests.
A total of 121 healthcare providers participated in three separate courses. The competencies for pandemic preparedness knowledge, skills, and attitude improved from pre- to post-course. The differences were all statistically significant (p<0.05). Overall course satisfaction in average for expectation, time, delivery method, and contents were 9.5, 9.2, 9.4, and 9.2, respectively.
There needs to be tests and exercises to recognize gaps of systems in place for pandemic preparedness. Simulation exercises are ideal tools for this purpose. Although this was only a two-day intensive course, this increased familiarity with workflows, tested the coordination of workflows between different disciplines and allowed the identification of gaps.
Recent hospital fire incidents in South Korea have heightened the importance of patient evacuation. Moving patients from an intensive care unit (ICU) or emergency department (ED) setting is a challenge due to the complexity of moving acutely unwell patients who are reliant on invasive monitoring and organ support. Despite the importance of patient evacuation, the readiness of ICU and ED for urgent evacuation has not been assessed.
To enhance the readiness and competencies of workers from ICU and ED in the evacuation of patients during a simulated tabletop fire exercise.
A tabletop simulation exercise was developed by the Center for Disaster Relief, Training, and Research referencing the fire evacuation manual developed by the hospital’s ICU and ED. The scenario consisted of evacuating patients horizontally and vertically from each department. The participants’ actions were assessed using a checklist. A debriefing was completed after the exercise to discuss the gaps observed. A post-survey questionnaire was used to evaluate the exercise and assess the perception changes of the participants. All pre-to-post differences within subjects were analyzed with paired t-tests.
A total of 22 and 29 people participated in the exercise from ICU and ED, respectively. Knowledge and confidence improved post-exercise for both ICU and ED scenarios (p<0.05). Course satisfaction was 7.9 and 8.7, respectively for ICU and ED exercise. Correct performance rates for ICU and ED were 59% and 58%, respectively. Common gaps noted for both ICU and ED were wearing protective masks, patient hand-over communication, and preparation for resources.
There need to be exercises to recognize system gaps in place for hospital fire evacuation preparedness. Tabletop simulation exercises are ideal tools for this purpose. Although this was a short 90-minute exercise, this increased familiarity with the evacuation plan, tested the plan, and allowed for identification of gaps.
The prevalence of community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) strains causing bloodstream infection (BSI) has not been studied in Korea.
We sought to determine the prevalence of CA-MRSA strains among isolates recovered from patients with MRSA BSIs and to explore epidemiological changes in Korea. We also sought to evaluate clinical characteristics relevant to the development of healthcare-associated BSIs.
We prospectively collected consecutive MRSA isolates from patients with BSI at 4 hospitals from July 1 through November 30, 2007, and we also included MRSA isolates recovered from culture of blood samples collected during a previous year (October 1, 2004 through September 30, 2005) at a different hospital. Molecular typing studies were performed, including pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), multilocus sequence typing, Staphylococcus protein A (spa) typing, and staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) typing. We compared the clinical characteristics and outcomes of patients with healthcare-associated BSI due to CA-MRSA strains with those of patients with healthcare-associated BSI due to healthcare-associated MRSA (HA-MRSA) strains.
There were 76 cases of MRSA BSI, of which 4 (5.3%) were community-associated and 72 (94.7%) were healthcare-associated. Among the 72 HA-MRSA BSIs, 18 (25%) were community onset, and 54 (75%) were hospital onset. PFGE type D-ST72–spa B-SCCmec type IVA MRSA, the predominant genotype of CA-MRSA in Korea, accounted for 19 (25%) of all 76 MRSA BSIs, including 17 (23.6%) of 72 HA-MRSA BSIs and 11 (20.8%) of 53 hospital-onset HA-MRSA BSIs. Patients with healthcare-associated BSIs due to CA-MRSA strains carrying SCCmec type IVA tended to have fewer healthcare-associated risk factors, compared with patients with healthcare-associated BSIs due to HA-MRSA strains carrying other SCCmec types. The presence of a central venous catheter or other invasive device was the only independent factor differentiating patients infected with hospital-associated genotype strains from patients infected with other strains. Clinical outcomes were similar between both groups.
CA-MRSA strains are emerging as a major cause of BSI in healthcare settings in Korea. This changing epidemiology of MRSA poses a challenge to public health and infection control in hospital settings.
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