To save content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Background:Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) is a serious healthcare-associated infection responsible for >12,000 US deaths annually. Overtesting can lead to antibiotic overuse and potential patient harm when patients are colonized with C. difficile, but not infected, yet treated. National guidelines recommend when testing is appropriate; occasionally, guideline-noncompliant testing (GNCT) may be warranted. A multidisciplinary group at UNC Medical Center (UNCMC) including the antimicrobial stewardship program (ASP) used a best-practice alert in 2020 to improve diagnostic stewardship, to no effect. Evidence supports use of hard stops for this purpose, though less is known about provider acceptance. Methods: Beginning in May 2022, UNCMC implemented a hard stop in its electronic medical record system (EMR) for C. difficile GNCT orders, with exceptions to be approved by an ASP attending physician. Requests were retrospectively reviewed May–November 2022 to monitor for adverse patient outcomes and provider hard-stop compliance. The team exported data from the EMR (Epic Systems) and generated descriptive statistics in Microsoft Excel. Results: There were 85 GNCT orders during the study period. Most tests (62%) were reviewed by the ASP, and 38% sought non-ASP or no approval. Of the tests reviewed by the ASP, 33 (62%) were approved and 20 (38%) were not. Among tests not approved by the ASP, no patients subsequently received CDI-directed antibiotics, and 1 patient (5%) warranted same-admission CDI testing (negative). Of tests that circumvented ASP review, 18 (56%) ordering providers received a follow-up email from an associate chief medical officer to determine the rationale. No single response type dominated: 3 (17%) were unaware of the ASP review requirement, 2 (11%) indicated their patient’s uncharted refusal of laxatives, 2 (11%) indicated another patient-specific reason. Provider avoidance of the ASP approval mechanism decreased 38%, from 53% of noncompliant tests in month 1 to 33% of tests in month 6. Total tests orders dropped 15.5% from 1,129 during the same period in 2021 to 954 during the study period (95% CI, 13.4%–17.7%). Compliance with the guideline component requiring at least a 48-hour laxative-free interval prior to CDI testing increased from 85% (95% CI, 83%–87%) to 95% (95% CI, 93%–96%). CDI incidence rates decreased from 0.52 per 1,000 patient days (95% CI, 0.41–0.65) to 0.41 (95% CI, 0.32–0.53), though the change was neither significant at P = .05 nor attributable to any 1 intervention. Conclusions: Over time and with feedback to providers circumventing the exception process, providers accepted and used the hard stop, improving diagnostic stewardship and avoiding unneeded treatment.
Background: Central-line–associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) are linked to increased morbidity and mortality, longer hospital stays, and significantly higher healthcare costs. Infection prevention guidelines recommend line placement in specific insertion locations over others because of the relative risk of infection. The purpose of this study was to assess CLABSI rates by line type to determine whether some central lines had a lower risk of infection and should be recommended over others given similar clinical indications. Methods: At UNC Hospitals, data were obtained on central lines across a 3-year period (FY20–FY22) from the EMR (Epic Systems). Central lines were categorized as apheresis catheters, CVC lines (single, double, or triple lumen), hemodialysis catheters, introducer lines, pulmonary artery (PA) catheters, PICC lines (single, double, or triple lumen), port-a-catheters, trialysis catheters, or umbilical lines. The line type(s) associated with each CLABSI during the same period were recorded, and CLABSI rates by line type per 1,000 central-line days were calculated using SAS software. If an infection had >1 central-line device type associated, the infection was counted twice when calculating the CLABSI rate by line type. We calculated 95% CIs for each point estimate to assess for statistically significant differences in rates by line type. Results: During FY20–FY22, there were 264,425 central-line days and 458 CLABSIs, for an overall CLABSI rate of 1.73 CLABSIs per 1,000 central-line days. Also, 16% of patients with a CLABSI had >1 type of central line in place. Stratified data on CLABSI rates by each central-line type is presented in the Figure. CLABSI rates were highest in patients with apheresis lines (6.22; 95% CI, 3.96–9.35) and PA catheters (6.22; 95% CI, 3.54–10.20), and the lowest CLABSI rates occurred in patients with PICC lines (1.44; 95% CI, 1.19–1.73) and port-a-catheters (1.14; 95% CI, 0.89, 1.45). For both CVC and PICC lines, as the number of lumens increased from single to triple, CLABSI rates increased, from 0.91 to 2.63 and from 0.57 to 1.20, respectively. Conclusions: At our hospital, different types of central lines were associated with statistically higher CLABSI rates. Additionally, a higher number of lumens (triple vs single) in CVC and PICC lines were also associated with statistically higher CLABSI rates. These findings reinforce the importance of considering central-line type and number of lumens to minimize risk of CLABSI while ensuring that patients have the best line type based on their clinical needs.
Disasters occur globally and can impact emergency department (ED) services. Chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) events have different characteristics in terms of onset and duration when compared to other disasters, such as wildfires, floods, and hurricanes. It is important to have an understanding of the impact of CBRN events on EDs to inform disaster preparedness. The purpose of this paper is to identify peer-reviewed published literature that describes the impact on EDs from CBRN events.
An integrative literature methodology was used, guided by the Preferred Reporting Items of Systematic reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) Guidelines. MEDLINE, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Pubmed, and Scopus were searched using terms relating to CBRN events and EDs. Papers were included if they focused on the impact of real-world CBRN event(s). Information from each included paper was extracted into a table, including author(s), CBRN event characteristics, ED response characteristics, patient presentation characteristics, and outcome characteristics.
Of the 15,982 studies that were identified from the database searches, 4,012 were duplicates and 11,696 were irrelevant at the title and abstract screening stage. Therefore, 274 were screened at the full-text stage resulting in 44 studies for inclusion. Included papers were mostly from the United States of America (n=22/44, 50%), followed by Turkey (n=4/44, 9.1%). Most of the events were chemical (n=36/44, 81.9%), with Chlorine (n=9/36, 25%) being the most frequently reported chemical agent. Between 1 and 5,500 people [M=54, IQR: 22-253] presented to EDs because of CBRN events.
Emergency departments assess and manage patients who present following CBRN events. Of these patients, the majority do not require hospital admission, suggesting that the ED is integral in the health response to CBRN events. As such, EDs should be adequately prepared, from a resource and process perspective to assess, manage and discharge large numbers of CBRN-related patients.
To evaluate the impact of a diagnostic stewardship intervention on Clostridioides difficile healthcare-associated infections (HAI).
Quality improvement study.
Two urban acute care hospitals.
All inpatient stool testing for C. difficile required review and approval prior to specimen processing in the laboratory. An infection preventionist reviewed all orders daily through chart review and conversations with nursing; orders meeting clinical criteria for testing were approved, orders not meeting clinical criteria were discussed with the ordering provider. The proportion of completed tests meeting clinical criteria for testing and the primary outcome of C. difficile HAI were compared before and after the intervention.
The frequency of completed C. difficile orders not meeting criteria was lower [146 (7.5%) of 1,958] in the intervention period (January 10, 2022–October 14, 2022) than in the sampled 3-month preintervention period [26 (21.0%) of 124; P < .001]. C. difficile HAI rates were 8.80 per 10,000 patient days prior to the intervention (March 1, 2021–January 9, 2022) and 7.69 per 10,000 patient days during the intervention period (incidence rate ratio, 0.87; 95% confidence interval, 0.73–1.05; P = .13).
A stringent order-approval process reduced clinically nonindicated testing for C. difficile but did not significantly decrease HAIs.
Despite recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) allowing institutions to relax in-facility masking strategies and due to our evolving understanding of respiratory pathogen transmission during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, we propose an updated standard for universal precautions in healthcare settings: permanently including universal masking in routine patient-care interactions. Such a practice prioritizes safety for patients, healthcare providers (HCPs), and visitors.
In two studies, time preferences for financial gains and losses at delays of up to 50 years were elicited using three different methods: matching, fixed-sequence choice titration, and a dynamic “staircase” choice method. Matching was found to create fewer demand characteristics and to produce better fits with the hyperbolic model of discounting. The choice-based measures better predicted real-world outcomes such as smoking and payment of credit card debt. No consistent advantages were found for the dynamic staircase method over fixed-sequence titration.
Failures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by adopting policies, technologies, and lifestyle changes have led the world to the brink of crisis, or likely beyond. Here we use Internet surveys to attempt to understand these failures by studying factors that affect the adoption of personal energy conservation behaviors and also endorsement of energy conservation goals proposed for others. We demonstrate an asymmetry between goals for self and others (“I’ll do the easy thing, you do the hard thing”), but we show that this asymmetry is partly produced by actor/observer differences: people know what they do already (and generally do not propose those actions as personal goals) and also know their own situational constraints that are barriers to action. We also show, however, that endorsement of conservation goals decreases steeply as a function of perceived difficulty; this suggests a role for motivated cognition as a barrier to conservation: difficult things are perceived as less applicable to one’s situation.
Interventions to increase cooperation in social dilemmas depend on understanding decision makers’ motivations for cooperation or defection. We examined these in five real-world social dilemmas: situations where private interests are at odds with collective ones. An online survey (N = 929) asked respondents whether or not they cooperated in each social dilemma and then elicited both open-ended reports of reasons for their choices and endorsements of a provided list of reasons. The dilemmas chosen were ones that permit individual action rather than voting or advocacy: (1) conserving energy, (2) donating blood, (3) getting a flu vaccination, (4) donating to National Public Radio (NPR), and (5) buying green electricity. Self-reported cooperation is weakly but positively correlated across these dilemmas. Cooperation in each dilemma correlates fairly strongly with self-reported altruism and with punitive attitudes toward defectors. Some strong domain-specific behaviors and beliefs also correlate with cooperation. The strongest example is frequency of listening to NPR, which predicts donation. Socio-demographic variables relate only weakly to cooperation. Respondents who self-report cooperation usually cite social reasons (including reciprocity) for their choice. Defectors often give self-interest reasons but there are also some domain-specific reasons—some report that they are not eligible to donate blood; some cannot buy green electricity because they do not pay their own electric bills. Cooperators generally report that several of the provided reasons match their actual reasons fairly well, but most defectors endorse none or at most one of the provided reasons for defection. In particular, defectors often view cooperation as costly but do not endorse free riding as a reason for defection. We tentatively conclude that cooperation in these settings is based mostly on pro-social norms and defection on a mixture of self-interest and the possibly motivated perception that situational circumstances prevent cooperation in the given situation.
Testing of asymptomatic patients for severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (ie, “asymptomatic screening) to attempt to reduce the risk of nosocomial transmission has been extensive and resource intensive, and such testing is of unclear benefit when added to other layers of infection prevention mitigation controls. In addition, the logistic challenges and costs related to screening program implementation, data noting the lack of substantial aerosol generation with elective controlled intubation, extubation, and other procedures, and the adverse patient and facility consequences of asymptomatic screening call into question the utility of this infection prevention intervention. Consequently, the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) recommends against routine universal use of asymptomatic screening for SARS-CoV-2 in healthcare facilities. Specifically, preprocedure asymptomatic screening is unlikely to provide incremental benefit in preventing SARS-CoV-2 transmission in the procedural and perioperative environment when other infection prevention strategies are in place, and it should not be considered a requirement for all patients. Admission screening may be beneficial during times of increased virus transmission in some settings where other layers of controls are limited (eg, behavioral health, congregate care, or shared patient rooms), but widespread routine use of admission asymptomatic screening is not recommended over strengthening other infection prevention controls. In this commentary, we outline the challenges surrounding the use of asymptomatic screening, including logistics and costs of implementing a screening program, and adverse patient and facility consequences. We review data pertaining to the lack of substantial aerosol generation during elective controlled intubation, extubation, and other procedures, and we provide guidance for when asymptomatic screening for SARS-CoV-2 may be considered in a limited scope.
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.
In this quasi-experimental study, implementing a procalcitonin and Clinical Pulmonary Infection Score (CPIS) successfully reduced inappropriate antibiotic use among severely-to-critically ill COVID-19 patients, multidrug-resistant organisms, and invasive fungal infections during the intervention period in 2 medical centers. However, this strategy did not improve inappropriate antibiotic use among mildly-to-moderately ill COVID-19 patients.
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.