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The gold standard for hand hygiene (HH) while wearing gloves requires removing gloves, performing HH, and donning new gloves between WHO moments. The novel strategy of applying alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR) directly to gloved hands might be effective and efficient.
A mixed-method, multicenter, 3-arm, randomized trial.
Adult and pediatric medical-surgical, intermediate, and intensive care units at 4 hospitals.
Healthcare personnel (HCP).
HCP were randomized to 3 groups: ABHR applied directly to gloved hands, the current standard, or usual care.
Gloved hands were sampled via direct imprint. Gold-standard and usual-care arms were compared with the ABHR intervention.
Bacteria were identified on gloved hands after 432 (67.4%) of 641 observations in the gold-standard arm versus 548 (82.8%) of 662 observations in the intervention arm (P < .01). HH required a mean of 14 seconds in the intervention and a mean of 28.7 seconds in the gold-standard arm (P < .01). Bacteria were identified on gloved hands after 133 (98.5%) of 135 observations in the usual-care arm versus 173 (76.6%) of 226 observations in the intervention arm (P < .01). Of 331 gloves tested 6 (1.8%) were found to have microperforations; all were identified in the intervention arm [6 (2.9%) of 205].
Compared with usual care, contamination of gloved hands was significantly reduced by applying ABHR directly to gloved hands but statistically higher than the gold standard. Given time savings and microbiological benefit over usual care and lack of feasibility of adhering to the gold standard, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization should consider advising HCP to decontaminate gloved hands with ABHR when HH moments arise during single-patient encounters.
Background: The burden of hospital-associated infections (HAIs) and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in Latin America is high. Improving engagement by healthcare workers (HCWs) in infection prevention and control (IPC) may lead to better patient outcomes; however, little is known about HCW perceptions of IPC in the region. We sought to understand HCW perceptions of IPC processes and practices. Methods: During August–September 2022, HCWs from 30 hospitals with IPC programs in 4 Latin American countries (Panama, Guatemala, Ecuador, and Argentina) were invited to participate in an electronic, voluntary, anonymous survey about their perceptions of IPC at their hospitals. Physicians, nurses, and environmental care (EVC) personnel were prioritized for recruitment. All respondents were asked 18 questions; IPC team members were asked 5 additional questions about specific activities implemented by IPC programs, how data are used, and how IPC could be improved. Answers with 5-point Likert scale responses were categorized into 2 groups (eg, strongly agree or agree vs neutral, disagree, or strongly disagree) for analysis. Results: Of 1,252 HCWs who completed the survey, 181 (14%) were IPC team members, 1,095 (87%) had direct patient contact, and 1,156 (92%) worked >20 hours per week. Figure 1 shows participant characteristics. Most participants (56%) rated their IPC program as very good, 38% rated it as good, and 6% rated it as bad. Physicians were less likely to give a favorable rating. Compliance with prevention bundles and hand hygiene (HH) by colleagues was rated as poor by 28% and 22% of HCWs, respectively; however, only 11% and 5% indicated that their own compliance was poor, respectively. Also, 25% of participants reported not receiving or only occasionally receiving HH compliance data. Similarly, 41% of participants reported not receiving HAI data on a regular basis, and 19% of IPC nurses reported not receiving data despite being responsible for conducting surveillance. Furthermore, 41% of respondents indicated not receiving or only occasionally receiving IPC training or education relevant to their role. When asked about the safety climate, 16% of participants reported not feeling appreciated. In addition, 22% of IPC nurses and 37% of individuals in the “other” category (eg, health technicians and therapists) were more likely to report this. When IPC team members were asked how frequently specific activities were conducted (Fig. 2), several opportunities for improvement were identified, including improving HCW access to HH data and development of strategic plans. Conclusions: Improving HCW access to training on IPC and to data on HAI burden and compliance with HH and prevention bundles should be emphasized in Latin American hospitals.
Background: Environmental cleaning is critical in preventing pathogen transmission and potential consecutive healthcare-acquired infections. In operating rooms (ORs), multiple invasive procedures increase the infectious risk for patients, making proper cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces of paramount importance. A human-factors engineering (HFE) approach emphasizing the impact of the entire work system on care processes and outcomes has been proposed to improve environmental cleaning. Using the lens of this HFE approach, we conducted a systematic review to synthesize existing evidence and identify gaps in the literature on OR cleaning. Methods: The systematic review was guided by the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines and limited to English-written, peer-reviewed journal articles reporting empirical studies on OR cleaning. Figure 1 shows the flowchart of study search and screening. The following data were extracted from each included article: (1) general information of the article (eg, first author, title, journal, year of publication) and (2) characteristics of the study (eg, country, objectives, design, outcome measures and measuring techniques, findings, funding source). In addition, work-system elements (eg, people, tasks, tools and technologies, physical environment, organizational conditions) and cleaning processes (eg, turnover cleaning, terminal cleaning) addressed in each included studywere coded based on the Systems Engineering Initiative for Patient Safety (SEIPS) model. The methodological quality of included studies using a (non)randomized controlled design was assessed using the version 2 of the Cochrane risk-of-bias tool for randomized trials. Results: In total, 35 studies were included in this review, among which 10 examined the effectiveness of OR cleaning in reducing environmental contamination (Fig. 2), 1 examined the compliance of OR cleaning practices (Fig. 3), and 24 examined interventions for improving OR cleaning effectiveness and/or compliance (Fig. 4). Figure 5 summarizes the characteristics of the included studies. Conclusions: In this review, OR cleaning was inconsistently performed in practice, and mixed findings were reported regarding the effectiveness of OR cleaning in reducing environmental contamination. No study has systematically examined work-system factors influencing OR cleaning. Efforts to improve OR cleaning focused on cleaning tools and technologies (eg, ultraviolet light) and staff monitoring and training. Interventions targeting the broader work system influencing the cleaning processes are lacking. The scientific rigor of the included studies was modest. Most studies were either commercially funded or did not reveal their funding sources, which might introduce a desirability bias.
Financial support: This study was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Over the past two decades, the incidence of legionellosis has been steadily increasing in the United States though there is noclear explanation for the main factors driving the increase. While legionellosis is the leading cause of waterborne outbreaks in the US, most cases are sporadic and acquired in community settings where the environmental source is never identified. This scoping review aimed to summarise the drivers of infections in the USA and determine the magnitude of impact each potential driver may have. A total of 1,738 titles were screened, and 18 articles were identified that met the inclusion criteria. Strong evidence was found for precipitation as a major driver, and both temperature and relative humidity were found to be moderate drivers of incidence. Increased testing and improved diagnostic methods were classified as moderate drivers, and the ageing U.S. population was a minor driver of increasing incidence. Racial and socioeconomic inequities and water and housing infrastructure were found to be potential factors explaining the increasing incidence though they were largely understudied in the context of non-outbreak cases. Understanding the complex relationships between environmental, infrastructure, and population factors driving legionellosis incidence is important to optimise mitigation strategies and public policy.
Exposure investigations are labor intensive and vulnerable to recall bias. We developed an algorithm to identify healthcare personnel (HCP) interactions from the electronic health record (EHR), and we evaluated its accuracy against conventional exposure investigations. The EHR algorithm identified every known transmission and used ranking to produce a manageable contact list.
Central-line–associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI) surveillance in home infusion therapy is necessary to track efforts to reduce infections, but a standardized, validated, and feasible definition is lacking. We tested the validity of a home-infusion CLABSI surveillance definition and the feasibility and acceptability of its implementation.
Mixed-methods study including validation of CLABSI cases and semistructured interviews with staff applying these approaches.
This study was conducted in 5 large home-infusion agencies in a CLABSI prevention collaborative across 14 states and the District of Columbia.
From May 2021 to May 2022, agencies implemented a home-infusion CLABSI surveillance definition, using 3 approaches to secondary bloodstream infections (BSIs): National Healthcare Safety Program (NHSN) criteria, modified NHSN criteria (only applying the 4 most common NHSN-defined secondary BSIs), and all home-infusion–onset bacteremia (HiOB). Data on all positive blood cultures were sent to an infection preventionist for validation. Surveillance staff underwent semistructured interviews focused on their perceptions of the definition 1 and 3–4 months after implementation.
Interrater reliability scores overall ranged from κ = 0.65 for the modified NHSN criteria to κ = 0.68 for the NHSN criteria to κ = 0.72 for the HiOB criteria. For the NHSN criteria, the agency-determined rate was 0.21 per 1,000 central-line (CL) days, and the validator-determined rate was 0.20 per 1,000 CL days. Overall, implementing a standardized definition was thought to be a positive change that would be generalizable and feasible though time-consuming and labor intensive.
The home-infusion CLABSI surveillance definition was valid and feasible to implement.
In total, 50 healthcare facilities completed a survey in 2021 to characterize changes in infection prevention and control and antibiotic stewardship practices. Notable findings include sustained surveillance for multidrug-resistant organisms but decreased use of human resource-intensive interventions compared to previous surveys in 2013 and 2018 conducted prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) transmissions among healthcare workers and hospitalized patients are challenging to confirm. Investigation of infected persons often reveals multiple potential risk factors for viral acquisition. We combined exposure investigation with genomic analysis confirming 2 hospital-based clusters. Prolonged close contact with unmasked, unrecognized infectious, individuals was a common risk.
Healthcare workers (HCWs) not adhering to physical distancing recommendations is a risk factor for acquisition of severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The study objective was to assess the impact of interventions to improve HCW physical distancing on actual distance between HCWs in a real-life setting.
HCWs voluntarily wore proximity beacons to measure the number and intensity of physical distancing interactions between each other in a pediatric intensive care unit. We compared interactions before and after implementing a bundle of interventions including changes to the layout of workstations, cognitive aids, and individual feedback from wearable proximity beacons.
Overall, we recorded 10,788 interactions within 6 feet (∼2 m) and lasting >5 seconds. The number of HCWs wearing beacons fluctuated daily and increased over the study period. On average, 13 beacons were worn daily (32% of possible staff; range, 2–32 per day). We recorded 3,218 interactions before the interventions and 7,570 interactions after the interventions began. Using regression analysis accounting for the maximum number of potential interactions if all staff had worn beacons on a given day, there was a 1% decline in the number of interactions per possible interactions in the postintervention period (incident rate ratio, 0.99; 95% confidence interval, 0.98–1.00; P = .02) with fewer interactions occurring at nursing stations, in workrooms and during morning rounds.
Using quantitative data from wearable proximity beacons, we found an overall small decline in interactions within 6 feet between HCWs in a busy intensive care unit after a multifaceted bundle of interventions was implemented to improve physical distancing.
We analyzed the impact of a 7-day recurring asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 testing protocol for all patients hospitalized at a large academic center. Overall, 40 new cases were identified, and 1 of 3 occurred after 14 days of hospitalization. Recurring testing can identify unrecognized infections, especially during periods of elevated community transmission.
We surveyed acute-care hospitals on strategies to reduce inappropriate C. difficile testing and treatment of colonized patients. Decision support during C. difficile test ordering was common, but “hard stops” to prevent placement of inappropriate orders and active intervention of antimicrobial stewardship programs on positive C. difficile test reports were infrequent.
To describe interfacility transfer communication (IFTC) methods for notification of multidrug-resistant organism (MDRO) status in a diverse sample of acute-care hospitals.
Hospitals within the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) Research Network (SRN).
SRN members completed an electronic survey on protocols and methods for IFTC. We assessed differences in IFTC frequency, barriers, and perceived benefit by presence of an IFTC protocol.
Among 136 hospital representatives who were sent the survey, 54 (40%) responded, of whom 72% reported having an IFTC protocol in place. The presence of a protocol did not differ significantly by hospital size, academic affiliation, or international status. Of those with IFTC protocols, 44% reported consistent notification of MDRO status (>75% of the time) to receiving facilities, as opposed to 13% from those with no IFTC protocol (P = .04). Respondents from hospitals with IFTC protocols reported significantly fewer barriers to communication compared to those without (2.8 vs 4.3; P = .03). Overall, however, most respondents (56%) reported a lack of standardization in communication. Presence of an IFTC protocol did not affect whether respondents perceived IFTC protocols as having a significant impact on infection prevention or antimicrobial stewardship.
Most respondents reported having an IFTC protocol, which was associated with reduced communication barriers at transfer. Standardization of protocols and clarity about expectations for sending and receipt of information related to MDRO status may facilitate IFTC and promote appropriate and timely infection prevention practices.
Physical distancing among healthcare workers (HCWs) is an essential strategy in preventing HCW-to-HCWs transmission of severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).
To understand barriers to physical distancing among HCWs on an inpatient unit and identify strategies for improvement.
Qualitative study including observations and semistructured interviews conducted over 3 months.
A non–COVID-19 adult general medical unit in an academic tertiary-care hospital.
HCWs based on the unit.
We performed a qualitative study in which we (1) observed HCW activities and proximity to each other on the unit during weekday shifts July–October 2020 and (2) conducted semi-structured interviews of HCWs to understand their experiences with and perspectives of physical distancing in the hospital. Qualitative data were coded based on a human-factors engineering model.
We completed 25 hours of observations and 20 HCW interviews. High-risk interactions often occurred during handoffs of care at shift changes and patient rounds, when HCWs gathered regularly in close proximity for at least 15 minutes. Identified barriers included spacing and availability of computers, the need to communicate confidential patient information, and the desire to maintain relationships at work.
Physical distancing can be improved in hospitals by restructuring computer workstations, work rooms, and break rooms; applying visible cognitive aids; adapting shift times; and supporting rounds and meetings with virtual conferencing. Additional strategies to promote staff adherence to physical distancing include rewarding positive behaviors, having peer leaders model physical distancing, and encouraging additional safe avenues for social connection at a safe distance.
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.