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To directly observe healthcare workers in a nursing home setting to measure frequency and duration of resident contact and infection prevention behavior as a factor of isolation practice
SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS
Healthcare workers in 8 VA nursing homes in Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Washington, and Texas
Over a 15-month period, trained research staff without clinical responsibilities on the units observed nursing home resident room activity for 15–30-minute intervals. Observers recorded time of entry and exit, isolation status, visitor type (staff, visitor, etc), hand hygiene, use of gloves and gowns, and activities performed in the room when visible.
A total of 999 hours of observation were conducted across 8 VA nursing homes during which 4,325 visits were observed. Residents in isolation received an average of 4.73 visits per hour of observation compared with 4.21 for nonisolation residents (P<.01), a 12.4% increase in visits for residents in isolation. Residents in isolation received an average of 3.53 resident care activities per hour of observation, compared with 2.46 for residents not in isolation (P<.01). For residents in isolation, compliance was 34% for gowns and 58% for gloves. Healthcare worker hand hygiene compliance was 45% versus 44% (P=.79) on entry and 66% versus 55% (P<.01) on exit for isolation and nonisolation rooms, respectively.
Healthcare workers visited residents in isolation more frequently, likely because they required greater assistance. Compliance with gowns and gloves for isolation was limited in the nursing home setting. Adherence to hand hygiene also was less than optimal, regardless of isolation status of residents.
Specific guidance on the size and composition of respiratory protective device (RPD) stockpiles for use during a pandemic is lacking. We explore the economic aspects of stockpiling various types and combinations of RPDs by adapting a pandemic model that estimates the impact of a severe pandemic on a defined population, the number of potential interactions between patients and health care personnel, and the potential number of health care personnel needed to fulfill those needs. Our model calculates the number of the different types of RPDs that should be stockpiled and the consequent cost of purchase and storage, prorating this cost over the shelf life of the inventory. Compared with disposable N95 or powered air-purifying respirators, we show that stockpiling reusable elastomeric half-face respirators is the least costly approach. Disposable N95 respirators take up significantly more storage space, which increases relative costs. Reusing or extending the usable period of disposable devices may diminish some of these costs. We conclude that stockpiling a combination of disposable N95 and reusable half-face RPDs is the best approach to preparedness for most health care organizations. We recommend against stockpiling powered air-purifying respirators as they are much more costly than alternative approaches. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2015;9:313-318)
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