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To examine temporal changes in coverage with a complete primary series of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccination and staffing shortages among healthcare personnel (HCP) working in nursing homes in the United States before, during, and after the implementation of jurisdiction-based COVID-19 vaccination mandates for HCP.
Sample and setting:
HCP in nursing homes from 15 US jurisdictions.
We analyzed weekly COVID-19 vaccination data reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Healthcare Safety Network from June 7, 2021, through January 2, 2022. We assessed 3 periods (preintervention, intervention, and postintervention) based on the announcement of vaccination mandates for HCP in 15 jurisdictions. We used interrupted time-series models to estimate the weekly percentage change in vaccination with complete primary series and the odds of reporting a staffing shortage for each period.
Complete primary series vaccination among HCP increased from 66.7% at baseline to 94.3% at the end of the study period and increased at the fastest rate during the intervention period for 12 of 15 jurisdictions. The odds of reporting a staffing shortage were lowest after the intervention.
These findings demonstrate that COVID-19 vaccination mandates may be an effective strategy for improving HCP vaccination coverage in nursing homes without exacerbating staffing shortages. These data suggest that mandates can be considered to improve COVID-19 coverage among HCP in nursing homes to protect both HCP and vulnerable nursing home residents.
In UK males, prostate cancer is the most common cancer, with over 47,500 diagnosed annually. Radiotherapy is a highly effective curative treatment but can be limited by dose to surrounding normal-tissues such as the rectum. Radiation to the rectum can be reduced by increasing the distance between prostate and rectum with a hydrogel spacer. Despite National Institute of Health and Care Excellence guidance, spacers are not widely funded in the UK. Limited funding has necessitated patient prioritization, without any existing consensus on method.
Studies have shown generally homogenous results in reduction of rectal toxicity across assessed subgroups, but the requirement to prioritize remains. One way of addressing the appropriate use of beneficial health technologies is the inclusion of end-user experts in decision-making. The study aim was to identify consensus among radiation oncologists on patient prioritization for rectal hydrogel spacers.
We conducted a Delphi study where six leading clinical oncologists and one urologist from across the UK experienced in using rectal hydrogel spacers participated in two rounds of online questionnaires and two virtual advisory board meetings.
The experts estimated that 83 percent of patients who could potentially benefit from a spacer were denied access. Overall, ten points of consensus were reached. Key ones concerning patient-access were:
• Spacer use in eligible patients significantly reduces radiation dose to the rectum and toxicity-related adverse events.
• Increased benefit is expected in patients on anticoagulation, with diabetes and with inflammatory bowel disease.
• Increased benefit can be expected with ultra-hypofractionated radiotherapy, but radiotherapy modality is not a key consideration for patient selection.
• Patients should have the opportunity to actively participate in the discussion regarding the use of a spacer.
Currently, not all patients who would benefit can access funding for hydrogel spacers. Consensus in this study indicates that appropriate health policy and funding mechanisms are warranted for patients, to provide equitable access to technologies improving quality of life.
Prisons are susceptible to outbreaks. Control measures focusing on isolation and cohorting negatively affect wellbeing. We present an outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in a large male prison in Wales, UK, October 2020 to April 2021, and discuss control measures.
We gathered case-information, including demographics, staff-residence postcode, resident cell number, work areas/dates, test results, staff interview dates/notes and resident prison-transfer dates. Epidemiological curves were mapped by prison location. Control measures included isolation (exclusion from work or cell-isolation), cohorting (new admissions and work-area groups), asymptomatic testing (case-finding), removal of communal dining and movement restrictions. Facemask use and enhanced hygiene were already in place. Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) and interviews determined the genetic relationship between cases plausibility of transmission.
Of 453 cases, 53% (n = 242) were staff, most aged 25–34 years (11.5% females, 27.15% males) and symptomatic (64%). Crude attack-rate was higher in staff (29%, 95% CI 26–64%) than in residents (12%, 95% CI 9–15%).
Whole-genome sequencing can help differentiate multiple introductions from person-to-person transmission in prisons. It should be introduced alongside asymptomatic testing as soon as possible to control prison outbreaks. Timely epidemiological investigation, including data visualisation, allowed dynamic risk assessment and proportionate control measures, minimising the reduction in resident welfare.
Background: The CDC NHSN launched the Antimicrobial Use Option in 2011. The Antimicrobial Use Option allows users to implement risk-adjusted antimicrobial use benchmarking within- and between- facilities using the standardized antimicrobial administration ratio (SAAR) and to evaluate use over time. The SAAR can be used for public health surveillance and to guide an organization’s stewardship or quality improvement efforts. Methods: Antimicrobial Use Option enrollment grew through partner engagement, targeted education, and development of data benchmarking. We analyze enrollment over time and discuss key drivers of participation. Results: Initial 2011 Antimicrobial Use Option enrollment efforts awarded grant Funding: to 4 health departments. These health departments partnered with hospitals, which encouraged vendors to build infrastructure for electronic antimicrobial use reporting. CDC supported vendors through outreach and education. In 2012, with CDC support, Veterans’ Affairs (VA) Informatics, Decision-Enhancement, and Analytic Sciences Center and partners began implementation of Antimicrobial Use Option reporting and validation of submitted data. These early efforts led to enrollment of 64 facilities by 2014 (Fig. 1). As awareness of the antimicrobial use option grew, we focused on facility engagement and development of benchmark metrics. A second round of grant Funding: in 2015 supported submission to the Antimicrobial Use Option from additional facilities by Funding: a vendor, a healthcare system, and an antimicrobial stewardship network. In 2015, CMS recognized the Antimicrobial Use Option as a choice for public health registry reporting under Meaningful Use Stage 3, resulting in an increase in participating hospitals. Antimicrobial Use Option enrollment increased in 2015 (n = 120), coinciding with national prioritization of antimicrobial stewardship. In 2016, the SAAR, was released in NHSN. We leveraged the SAAR to encourage participation from additional facilities and began quarterly calls to encourage continued participation from existing users. In 2016, the Department of Defense began submitting data to the Antimicrobial Use Option, resulting in 207 facilities enrolled in 2016, which grew to 616 in 2017. As of November 2019, 12 vendors self-report submission capabilities and 1,470 facilities, of ~6,800 active NHSN participants, are enrolled in the Antimicrobial Use Option. Two states have passed requirements regulating Antimicrobial Use Option reporting with Tennessee’s requirement going into effect in 2021. Conclusions: The Antimicrobial Use Option offers evidence that collaboration with partners, and leveraging of benchmarking metrics available to a national surveillance system can lead to increased voluntary participation in surveillance of high-priority public health data. Moving forward, we will continue expanding analytic capabilities and partner engagement.
Background: Appropriate testing of blood procalcitonin (PCT) can potentially inform antibiotic de-escalation in patients with severe infections. When used along with observed clinical improvements, PCT testing can support antimicrobial stewardship. However, this testing must be used optimally to ensure that it is actionable, cost-effective, and provides patient benefit. Although this test is widely used, little is known about the appropriateness of this testing in select populations. Methods: In this retrospective review, we evaluated PCT monitoring patterns and appropriateness of use and relationship to antibiotic days of therapy in a system of community hospitals. We evaluated the use of PCT testing in patients with known confounders, namely pregnancy, chronic kidney disease, or neutropenia, which we classified as “inappropriate use” because these conditions can affect the interpretation of PCT results. We also evaluated the relationship between PCT testing and antibiotic days of therapy for patients with sepsis, pneumonia, or lower respiratory tract infections. Results: In a 1-year period, ∼206,302 PCT tests were performed at 146 facilities, an average of ∼1,413 per facility per year. Approximately 27.7% of these tests were given to patients who were pregnant or had a confounding comorbidity such as chronic kidney disease or neutropenia. Of these “inappropriate” tests, >90% were given to patients with chronic kidney disease. Older patients (aged 60–80 years, n = 93,021) were more likely to receive a PCT test while also having a confounding comorbidities; 24% of older patients with a PCT test also had chronic kidney disease. Of all patients with a PCT test and chronic kidney disease, ∼76% were also diagnosed with either sepsis, pneumonia, or lower respiratory tract infections. Conclusions: Confounding conditions can affect PCT levels independently of infection. Additionally, some clinicians use PCT tests as probes for other physiological maladies. This analysis demonstrated that there is opportunity for education about the appropriate use of this test, how to interpret results in the presence of confounding conditions, and how to transform PCT test results into actions that facilitate antimicrobial stewardship and better patient care.
There is discontent and turnover among faculty at US academic health centers because of the challenges in balancing clinical, research, teaching, and work–life responsibilities in the current healthcare environment. One potential strategy to improve faculty satisfaction and limit turnover is through faculty mentoring programs.
A Mentor Leadership Council was formed to design and implement an institution-wide faculty mentoring program across all colleges at an academic health center. The authors conducted an experimental study of the impact of the mentoring program using pre-intervention (2011) and 6-year (2017) post-intervention faculty surveys that measured the long-term effectiveness of the program.
The percent of faculty who responded to the surveys was 45.9% (656/1428) in 2011 and 40.2% (706/1756) in 2017. For faculty below the rank of full professor, percent of faculty with a mentor (45.3% vs. 67.1%, P < 0.001), familiarity with promotion criteria (81.7% vs. 90.0%, P = 0.001), and satisfaction with department’s support of career (75.6% vs. 84.7%, P = 0.002) improved. The percent of full professors serving as mentors also increased from 50.3% in 2011 to 68.0% in 2017 (P = 0.002). However, the percent of non-retiring faculty considering leaving the institution over the next 2 years increased from 18.8% in 2011 to 24.3% in 2017 (P = 0.02).
Implementation of an institution-wide faculty mentoring program significantly improved metrics of career development and faculty satisfaction but was not associated with a reduction in the percent of faculty considering leaving the institution. This suggests the need for additional efforts to identify and limit factors driving faculty turnover.
The rocky shores of the north-east Atlantic have been long studied. Our focus is from Gibraltar to Norway plus the Azores and Iceland. Phylogeographic processes shape biogeographic patterns of biodiversity. Long-term and broadscale studies have shown the responses of biota to past climate fluctuations and more recent anthropogenic climate change. Inter- and intra-specific species interactions along sharp local environmental gradients shape distributions and community structure and hence ecosystem functioning. Shifts in domination by fucoids in shelter to barnacles/mussels in exposure are mediated by grazing by patellid limpets. Further south fucoids become increasingly rare, with species disappearing or restricted to estuarine refuges, caused by greater desiccation and grazing pressure. Mesoscale processes influence bottom-up nutrient forcing and larval supply, hence affecting species abundance and distribution, and can be proximate factors setting range edges (e.g., the English Channel, the Iberian Peninsula). Impacts of invasive non-native species are reviewed. Knowledge gaps such as the work on rockpools and host–parasite dynamics are also outlined.
One major challenge facing policy-makers is to design education and workplace training programs that are appropriately challenging. We review previous research that suggests that difficult training is better than easy training. However, surveys we conducted of students and of expert sport coaches showed that many prescribed easy rather than difficult training for those they coached. We analyzed the performance of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball teams in postseason tournaments to see whether the existing research, largely on individuals in short-term situations, would generalize to teams in the long run. Indeed, playing difficult nonconference (training) games modestly improved performance for NCAA teams in the postseason. Difficult training particularly benefitted teams that lost many nonconference games, and the effect of difficulty was positive within the range of difficulty NCAA teams actually encounter, making it clear that difficult training is superior. We suggest that our results can be generalized beyond sports, although with careful consideration of differences between NCAA basketball teams and other teams that may limit generalizability. These results suggest that policy-makers might consider amplifying the difficulty of team training exercises under certain conditions.
To describe the relationship between adherence to distinct dietary patterns and nutrition literacy.
We identified distinct dietary patterns using principal covariates regression (PCovR) and principal components analysis (PCA) from the Diet History Questionnaire II. Nutrition literacy was assessed using the Nutrition Literacy Assessment Instrument (NLit). Cross-sectional relationships between dietary pattern adherence and global and domain-specific NLit scores were tested by multiple linear regression. Mean differences in diet pattern adherence among three predefined nutrition literacy performance categories were tested by ANOVA.
Metropolitan Kansas City, USA.
Adults (n 386) with at least one of four diet-related diseases.
Three diet patterns of interest were derived: a PCovR prudent pattern and PCA-derived Western and Mediterranean patterns. After controlling for age, sex, BMI, race, household income, education level and diabetes status, PCovR prudent pattern adherence positively related to global NLit score (P < 0·001, β = 0·36), indicating more intake of prudent diet foods with improved nutrition literacy. Validating the PCovR findings, PCA Western pattern adherence inversely related to global NLit (P = 0·003, β = −0·13) while PCA Mediterranean pattern positively related to global NLit (P = 0·02, β = 0·12). Using predefined cut points, those with poor nutrition literacy consumed more foods associated with the Western diet (fried foods, sugar-sweetened beverages, red meat, processed foods) while those with good nutrition literacy consumed more foods associated with prudent and Mediterranean diets (vegetables, olive oil, nuts).
Nutrition literacy predicted adherence to healthy/unhealthy diet patterns. These findings warrant future research to determine if improving nutrition literacy effectively improves eating patterns.
The third edition of Hamlet offers a completely new introduction to this rich, mysterious play, examining Shakespeare's transformation of an ancient Nordic legend into a drama whose philosophical, psychological, political, and spiritual complexities have captivated audiences world-wide for over 400 years. Focusing on the ways in which Shakespeare re-imagined the revenge plot and its capacity to investigate the human experiences of love, grief, obligation, and memory, Heather Hirschfeld explores the play's cultural and theatrical contexts, its intricate textual issues, its vibrant critical traditions and controversies, and its history of performance and adaptation by celebrated directors, actors, and authors. Supplemented by an updated reading list, extensive illustrations and helpful appendices, this edition also features revised commentary notes explicitly designed for the student reader, offering the very best in contemporary criticism of this great tragedy.