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To measure the impact of an automated hand hygiene monitoring system (AHHMS) and an intervention program of complementary strategies on hand hygiene (HH) performance in both acute-care and long-term care (LTC) units.
Single Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC), with 2 acute-care units and 6 LTC units.
An AHHMS that provides group HH performance rates was implemented on 8 units at a VAMC from March 2021 through April 2022. After a 4-week baseline period and 2.5-week washout period, the 52-week intervention period included multiple evidence-based components designed to improve HH compliance. Unit HH performance rates were expressed as the number of dispenses (events) divided by the number of patient room entries and exits (opportunities) × 100. Statistical analysis was performed with a Poisson general additive mixed model.
During the 4-week baseline period, the median HH performance rate was 18.6 (95% CI, 16.5–21.0) for all 8 units. During the intervention period, the median HH rate increased to 21.6 (95% CI, 19.1–24.4; P < .0001), and during the last 4 weeks of the intervention period (exactly 1 year after baseline), the 8 units exhibited a median HH rate of 25.1 (95% CI, 22.2–28.4; P < .0001). The median HH rate increased from 17.5 to 20.0 (P < .0001) in LTC units and from 22.9 to 27.2 (P < .0001) in acute-care units.
The intervention was associated with increased HH performance rates for all units. The performance of acute-care units was consistently higher than LTC units, which have more visitors and more mobile veterans.
Prior trials suggest that intravenous racemic ketamine is a highly effective for treatment-resistant depression (TRD), but phase 3 trials of racemic ketamine are needed.
To assess the acute efficacy and safety of a 4-week course of subcutaneous racemic ketamine in participants with TRD. Trial registration: ACTRN12616001096448 at www.anzctr.org.au.
This phase 3, double-blind, randomised, active-controlled multicentre trial was conducted at seven mood disorders centres in Australia and New Zealand. Participants received twice-weekly subcutaneous racemic ketamine or midazolam for 4 weeks. Initially, the trial tested fixed-dose ketamine 0.5 mg/kg versus midazolam 0.025 mg/kg (cohort 1). Dosing was revised, after a Data Safety Monitoring Board recommendation, to flexible-dose ketamine 0.5–0.9 mg/kg or midazolam 0.025–0.045 mg/kg, with response-guided dosing increments (cohort 2). The primary outcome was remission (Montgomery-Åsberg Rating Scale for Depression score ≤10) at the end of week 4.
The final analysis (those who received at least one treatment) comprised 68 in cohort 1 (fixed-dose), 106 in cohort 2 (flexible-dose). Ketamine was more efficacious than midazolam in cohort 2 (remission rate 19.6% v. 2.0%; OR = 12.1, 95% CI 2.1–69.2, P = 0.005), but not different in cohort 1 (remission rate 6.3% v. 8.8%; OR = 1.3, 95% CI 0.2–8.2, P = 0.76). Ketamine was well tolerated. Acute adverse effects (psychotomimetic, blood pressure increases) resolved within 2 h.
Adequately dosed subcutaneous racemic ketamine was efficacious and safe in treating TRD over a 4-week treatment period. The subcutaneous route is practical and feasible.
To determine how engagement of the hospital and/or vendor with performance improvement strategies combined with an automated hand hygiene monitoring system (AHHMS) influence hand hygiene (HH) performance rates.
The study was conducted in 58 adult and pediatric inpatient units located in 10 hospitals.
HH performance rates were estimated using an AHHMS. Rates were expressed as the number of soap and alcohol-based hand rub portions dispensed divided by the number of room entries and exits. Each hospital self-assigned to one of the following intervention groups: AHHMS alone (control group), AHHMS plus clinician-based vendor support (vendor-only group), AHHMS plus hospital-led unit-based initiatives (hospital-only group), or AHHMS plus clinician-based vendor support and hospital-led unit-based initiatives (vendor-plus-hospital group). Each hospital unit produced 1–2 months of baseline HH performance data immediately after AHHMS installation before implementing initiatives.
Hospital units in the vendor-plus-hospital group had a statistically significant increase of at least 46% in HH performance compared with units in the other 3 groups (P ≤ .006). Units in the hospital only group achieved a 1.3% increase in HH performance compared with units that had AHHMS alone (P = .950). Units with AHHMS plus other initiatives each had a larger change in HH performance rates over their baseline than those in the AHHMS-alone group (P < 0.001).
AHHMS combined with clinician-based vendor support and hospital-led unit-based initiatives resulted in the greatest improvements in HH performance. These results illustrate the value of a collaborative partnership between the hospital and the AHHMS vendor.
Estimated levels of microbial burden on hospital environmental surfaces vary substantially among published studies. Cultures obtained during a cluster-controlled crossover trial of a quaternary ammonium (Quat) disinfectant versus an improved hydrogen peroxide (IHP) disinfectant provided additional data on the amount of microbial burden on selected surfaces.
RODAC plates containing D/E neutralizing agar were used to sample a convenience sample of 5–8 high-touch surfaces in patient rooms on 2 medical wards, an intensive care unit, and a step-down unit at a large hospital. Before routine daily cleaning, samples were obtained in varying rooms over an 11-month period. RODAC plates (1 per surface sampled) were incubated for 72 hours, and aerobic colony counts per plate (ACCs) were determined. Statistical analysis was used to determine the potential impact on ACCs of study period, cleaning compliance rate, disinfectant used, ward, surface sampled, and isolation room status.
Overall, 590 cultures were obtained on Quat wards and 589 on IHP wards. Multivariable regression analysis revealed that mean ACCs differed significantly by site (P < .001), type of ward (P < .001), isolation room status (P = .039), and study period (P = .036). The highest mean ACCs per RODAC plate were on toilet seats (112.8), bedside rails (92.0), and bathroom grab bars (79.5).
The combination of factors analyzed revealed that estimating microbial burden is complex and is affected by multiple factors. Additional studies should evaluate individual sites, ward types, cleaning and disinfection practices, and isolation room status.
The effectiveness of alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR) is correlated with drying time, which depends on the volume applied. Evidence suggests that there is considerable variation in the amount of ABHR used by healthcare providers.
We sought to identify the volume of ABHR preferred for use by nurses.
A prospective observation study was performed in 8 units at a tertiary-care hospital. Nurses were provided pocket-sized ABHR bottles with caps to record each bottle opening. Nurses were instructed to use the volume of ABHR they felt was best. The average ABHR volume used per hand hygiene event was calculated using cap data and changes in bottle mass.
In total, 53 nurses participated and 140 nurse shifts were analyzed. The average ABHR dose was 1.09 mL. This value was greater for non-ICU nurses (1.18 mL) than ICU nurses (0.96 mL), but this difference was not significant. We detected no significant association between hand surface area and preferred average dose volume. The ABHR dose volume was 0.006 mL less per use as the number of applications per shift increased (P = .007).
The average dose of ABHR used was similar to the dose provided by the hospital’s automated dispensers, which deliver 1.1 mL per dose. The volume of ABHR dose was inversely correlated with the number of applications of ABHR per shift and was not correlated with hand size. Further research to understand differences and drivers of ABHR volume preferences and whether automated ABHR dosing may create a risk for people with larger hands is warranted.
Ongoing challenges in maintaining optimum manual cleaning and disinfection of hospital rooms have created increased interest in “no-touch” decontamination technologies including the use of ultraviolet light (UV). Trials have shown that some UV devices can decrease surface contamination and reduce healthcare-associated infections. Despite substantial marketing of these devices for use in healthcare settings, few data are available regarding the doses of UV-C necessary to yield desired reductions in healthcare pathogens and the ability of mobile devices to deliver adequate doses to various surfaces in patient rooms. This review summarizes the physical aspects of UV that affect the doses delivered to surfaces, the UV-C doses needed to yield 3 log10 reductions of several important healthcare-associated pathogens, the doses of UV-C that can be achieved in various locations in patient rooms using mobile UV-C devices, and methods for measuring UV doses delivered to surfaces.
Hand hygiene compliance rates were estimated using direct observations. An AHHMS, installed on 4 nursing units in a sequential manner, determined hand hygiene performance rates, expressed as the number of hand hygiene events performed upon entering and exiting patient rooms divided by the number of room entries and exits. Additional strategies implemented to improve hand hygiene included goal setting, hospital leadership support, feeding AHHMS data back to healthcare personnel, and use of Toyota Kata performance improvement methods. HAIs were defined using National Healthcare Safety Network criteria.
Hand hygiene compliance rates generated by direct observation were substantially higher than performance rates generated by the AHHMS. Installation of the AHHMS without supplementary activities did not yield sustained improvement in hand hygiene performance rates. Implementing several supplementary strategies resulted in a statistically significant 85% increase in hand hygiene performance rates (P < .0001). The incidence density of non–Clostridioies difficile HAIs decreased by 56% (P = .0841), while C. difficile infections increased by 60% (P = .0533) driven by 2 of the 4 study units.
Implementation of an AHHMS, when combined with several supplementary strategies as part of a multimodal program, resulted in significantly improved hand hygiene performance rates. Reductions in non–C. difficile HAIs occurred but were not statistically significant.
Examination gloves have been previously noted as a possible barrier to hand hygiene. We performed a prospective quantitative and qualitative study to investigate. Glove usage was found to be a potential barrier to hand hygiene; this was driven by desire for personal safety and potentially learned during professional training.
Based on a surgical site infection (SSI) cohort at an academic center, we showed a median potentially preventable loss per non-SSI case of $17,916 in colon surgery and of $34,741 in coronary artery bypass grafting.
Isopropyl alcohol and ethyl alcohol have been used as low-level disinfectants in healthcare settings for many years. Recent studies have found that ethyl alcohol inhibits protein synthesis in Escherichia coli by direct effects on ribosomes and RNA polymerase and that 60%–70% solutions have in vitro efficacy against murine norovirus, Ebola virus, and several coronaviruses. Alcohol prep pads or towelettes containing isopropyl or ethyl alcohol and water have been used primarily for disinfection of small noncritical items due to a concern regarding their rapid evaporation rates and associated short contact times. Sterile alcohol solutions are used mostly for disinfection of compounding pharmacies and controlled areas. One new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)–registered cleaner/disinfectant formulation differs from other alcohol-based disinfectants by virtue of having a 30-second contact time for multiple pathogens and a toxicity rating of category IV. Multiple disinfectants containing ethyl alcohol and/or isopropyl alcohol combined with other active agents such as quaternary ammonium or phenolic compounds are widely used for disinfecting environmental surfaces in healthcare facilities.
Recently, the US Food and Drug Administration requested that a “maximal use” trial be conducted to ensure the safety of frequent use of alcohol-based hand rubs (ABHRs) by healthcare workers.
To establish how frequently volunteers should be exposed to ABHR during a maximal use trial.
Retrospective review of literature and analysis of 2 recent studies that utilized hand hygiene electronic compliance monitoring (ECM) systems.
We reviewed PubMed for articles published between 1970 and December 31, 2015, containing the terms hand washing, hand hygiene, hand hygiene compliance, and alcohol-based hand rubs. Article titles, abstracts, or text were reviewed to determine whether the frequency of ABHR use by healthcare workers was reported. Two studies using hand hygiene ECM systems were reviewed to determine how frequently nurses used ABHR per shift and per hour.
Of 3,487 citations reviewed, only 10 reported how frequently individual healthcare workers used ABHR per shift or per hour. Very conservative estimates of the frequency of ABHR use were reported owing to shortcomings of the methods utilized. The greatest frequency of ABHR use was recorded by an ECM system in a medical intensive care unit. In 95% of nursing shifts, individual nurses used ABHR 141 times or less per shift, and 15 times or less per hour.
Hand hygiene ECM systems established that the frequency of exposure to ABHRs varies substantially among nurses. Our findings should be useful in designing how frequently individuals should be exposed to ABHR during a maximal use trial.
To evaluate ultraviolet C (UV-C) irradiance, UV-C dosage, and antimicrobial effect achieved by a mobile continuous UV-C device.
Prospective observational study.
We used 6 UV light sensors to determine UV-C irradiance (W/cm2) and UV-C dosage (µWsec/cm2) at various distances from and orientations relative to the UV-C device during 5-minute and 15-minute cycles in an ICU room and a surgical ward room. In both rooms, stainless-steel disks inoculated with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE), and Clostridium difficile spores were placed next to sensors, and UV-C dosages and log10 reductions of target organisms achieved during 5-minute and 15-minute cycles were determined. Mean irradiance and dosage readings were compared using ANOVA.
Mean UV-C irradiance was nearly 1.0E-03 W/cm2 in direct sight at a distance of 1.3 m (4 ft) from the device but was 1.12E-05 W/cm2 on a horizontal surface in a shaded area 3.3 m (10 ft) from the device (P<.001). Mean UV-C dosages received by UV-C sensors located at different distances and orientation relative to the device varied significantly during 5-minute cycles and during 15-minute cycles (P<.001). Log10 reductions ranged from >4 to 1–3 for MRSA, >4 to 1–2 for VRE and >4 to 0 log10 for C. difficile spores, depending on the distance from, and orientation relative to, the device with 5-minute and 15-minute cycles.
UV-C irradiance, dosage, and antimicrobial effect received from a mobile UV-C device varied substantially based on location in a room relative to the UV-C device.
We identified several factors affecting the use of quaternary ammonium-based (Quat) disinfectant in our facility. Microfiber wipers, cotton towels, and 1 of 2 types of disposable wipes soaked in a Quat disinfectant revealed significant binding of the disinfectant. Concentrations of Quat delivered by automated disinfectant dispensers varied widely.
Infect. Control Hosp. Epidemiol. 2016;37(3):340–342
Validation of the number of central line–days by hospitals is required by the National Healthcare Safety Network. A prospective study that compared a daily report of such days generated by an electronic medical record with observational audits by nurses revealed that the report was 100% sensitive and 99.9% specific.
Infect. Control Hosp. Epidemiol. 2015;36(9):1098–1099
A retrospective study of a systematic sample of 150 patients who underwent abdominal surgery revealed that 53 (35.3%) had all intraoperative temperatures in the hypothermic range (<36.0°C). Fifty-two (98.1%) of the 53 patients met 1 or both surgical care improvement project criteria for normothermia. Improved metrics are needed to assure normothermia.
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2014;35(11):1408–1410
Reduce the frequency of contaminated blood cultures that meet National Healthcare Safety Network definitions for a central line-associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI).
An observational study.
A 500-bed university-affiliated hospital.
A new blood culture policy discouraged drawing blood samples from central lines. Phlebotomists were reeducated regarding aseptic technique when obtaining blood samples by venipuncture. The intravenous therapy team was taught how to draw blood samples by venipuncture and served as a backup when phlebotomists were unable to obtain blood samples. A 2-nurse protocol and a special supply kit for obtaining blood samples from catheters were developed. Rates of blood culture contamination were monitored by the microbiology laboratory.
The proportion of blood samples obtained for culture from central lines decreased from 10.9% during January–June 2010 to 0.4% during July–December 2012 (P< .001). The proportion of blood cultures that were contaminated decreased from 84 (1.6%) of 5,274 during January–June 2010 to 21 (0.5%) of 4,245 during January–June 2012 (P< .001). Based on estimated excess hospital costs of $3,000 per contaminated blood culture, the reduction in blood culture contaminants yielded an estimated annualized savings of $378,000 in 2012 when compared to 2010. In mid-2010, 3 (30%) of 10 reported CLABSIs were suspected to represent blood culture contamination compared with none of 6 CLABSIs reported from mid-November 2010 through June 2012 (P = 0.25).
Multiple interventions resulted in a reduction in blood culture contamination rates and substantial cost savings to the hospital, and they may have reduced the number of reportable CLABSIs.