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Ventilator-capable skilled nursing facilities (vSNFs) are critical to the epidemiology and control of antibiotic-resistant organisms. During an infection prevention intervention to control carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales (CRE), we conducted a qualitative study to characterize vSNF healthcare personnel beliefs and experiences regarding infection control measures.
A qualitative study involving semistructured interviews.
One vSNF in the Chicago, Illinois, metropolitan region.
The study included 17 healthcare personnel representing management, nursing, and nursing assistants.
We used face-to-face, semistructured interviews to measure healthcare personnel experiences with infection control measures at the midpoint of a 2-year quality improvement project.
Healthcare personnel characterized their facility as a home-like environment, yet they recognized that it is a setting where germs were ‘invisible’ and potentially ‘threatening.’ Healthcare personnel described elaborate self-protection measures to avoid acquisition or transfer of germs to their own household. Healthcare personnel were motivated to implement infection control measures to protect residents, but many identified structural barriers such as understaffing and time constraints, and some reported persistent preference for soap and water.
Healthcare personnel in vSNFs, from management to frontline staff, understood germ theory and the significance of multidrug-resistant organism transmission. However, their ability to implement infection control measures was hampered by resource limitations and mixed beliefs regarding the effectiveness of infection control measures. Self-protection from acquiring multidrug-resistant organisms was a strong motivator for healthcare personnel both outside and inside the workplace, and it could explain variation in adherence to infection control measures such as a higher hand hygiene adherence after resident care than before resident care.
Background: During a 2017–2019 intervention in Chicago-area vSNFs to control carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, healthcare worker adherence to hand hygiene and personal protective equipment was stubbornly inadequate (hand hygiene adherence, ~16% and 56% on entry and exit), despite educational and monitoring efforts. Little is known about vSNF staff understanding of multidrug-resistant organism (MDRO) transmission. We conducted a qualitative analysis of staff members at a vSNF that included assessment of staff perceptions of personal MDRO acquisition risk and associated personal hygiene routines transitioning from work to home. Methods: Between September 2018 and November 2018, a PhD-candidate medical anthropologist conducted semistructured interviews with management (N = 5), nursing staff (N = 6), and certified nursing assistants (N = 6) at a vSNF in the Chicago region (Illinois) who had already received 1 year of MDRO staff education and hand hygiene adherence monitoring. More than 11 hours of semistructured interviews were collected and transcribed. Data collection and analysis included identifying how staff members related to their own risk of MDRO acquisition/infection and what personal hygiene routines they followed. Transcriptions of the data were analyzed using thematic coding aided by MAXQDA qualitative analysis software. Results: Staff members at all levels were able to describe their perceptions related to the risk of acquiring an MDRO and personal hygiene in great detail. The risk of acquiring an MDRO was perceived as a constant threat by staff members, who described germs as bad and everywhere (Table 1). The perceived threat of MDRO acquisition was connected to individual personal hygiene routines (eg, changing shoes before leaving work), which were considered important by staff members (Table 2). Nursing staff and certified nursing assistants noted that personal hygiene was a critical factor keeping their residents, themselves, and their families free from MDROs. Conclusions: In the context of a quality improvement campaign, vSNF healthcare workers are aware of the transmissibility of microscopic MDROs and are highly motivated in preventing transmission of MDROs to themselves. Such perceptions may explain actions such as why workers may be differentially adherent with infection control interventions (eg, more likely to perform hand hygiene leaving a room rather than going into a room, or less likely to change gowns in between residents in multibed rooms if they believe they are already personally protected with a gown). Our findings suggest that interventions to improve staff adherence to infection control measures may need to address other factors related to adherence besides knowledge deficit (eg, understaffing) and may need to acknowledge self-protection as a driving motivator for staff adherence.
Background: Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) are endemic in the Chicago region. We assessed the regional impact of a CRE control intervention targeting high-prevalence facilities; that is, long-term acute-care hospitals (LTACHs) and ventilator-capable skilled nursing facilities (vSNFs). Methods: In July 2017, an academic–public health partnership launched a regional CRE prevention bundle: (1) identifying patient CRE status by querying Illinois’ XDRO registry and periodic point-prevalence surveys reported to public health, (2) cohorting or private rooms with contact precautions for CRE patients, (3) combining hand hygiene adherence, monitoring with general infection control education, and guidance by project coordinators and public health, and (4) daily chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) bathing. Informed by epidemiology and modeling, we targeted LTACHs and vSNFs in a 13-mile radius from the coordinating center. Illinois mandates CRE reporting to the XDRO registry, which can also be manually queried or generate automated alerts to facilitate interfacility communication. The regional intervention promoted increased automation of alerts to hospitals. The prespecified primary outcome was incident clinical CRE culture reported to the XDRO registry in Cook County by month, analyzed by segmented regression modeling. A secondary outcome was colonization prevalence measured by serial point-prevalence surveys for carbapenemase-producing organism colonization in LTACHs and vSNFs. Results: All eligible LTACHs (n = 6) and vSNFs (n = 9) participated in the intervention. One vSNF declined CHG bathing. vSNFs that implemented CHG bathing typically bathed residents 2–3 times per week instead of daily. Overall, there were significant gaps in infection control practices, especially in vSNFs. Also, 75 Illinois hospitals adopted automated alerts (56 during the intervention period). Mean CRE incidence in Cook County decreased from 59.0 cases per month during baseline to 40.6 cases per month during intervention (P < .001). In a segmented regression model, there was an average reduction of 10.56 cases per month during the 24-month intervention period (P = .02) (Fig. 1), and an estimated 253 incident CRE cases were averted. Mean CRE incidence also decreased among the stratum of vSNF/LTACH intervention facilities (P = .03). However, evidence of ongoing CRE transmission, particularly in vSNFs, persisted, and CRE colonization prevalence remained high at intervention facilities (Table 1). Conclusions: A resource-intensive public health regional CRE intervention was implemented that included enhanced interfacility communication and targeted infection prevention. There was a significant decline in incident CRE clinical cases in Cook County, despite high persistent CRE colonization prevalence in intervention facilities. vSNFs, where understaffing or underresourcing were common and lengths of stay range from months to years, had a major prevalence challenge, underscoring the need for aggressive infection control improvements in these facilities.
Funding: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (SHEPheRD Contract No. 200-2011-42037)
Disclosures: M.Y.L. has received research support in the form of contributed product from OpGen and Sage Products (now part of Stryker Corporation), and has received an investigator-initiated grant from CareFusion Foundation (now part of BD).
Background: During 2017–2019 in the Chicago region, several ventilator-capable skilled nursing facilities (vSNFs) participated in a quality improvement project to control the spread of highly prevalent carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE). With guidance from regional project coordinators and public health departments that involved education, assistance with implementation, and adherence monitoring, the facilities implemented a CRE prevention bundle that included a hand hygiene campaign that promoted alcohol-based hand rub, contact precautions (personal protective equipment with glove/gown) for care of CRE-colonized residents, and 2% chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) wipes for routine resident bathing. We conducted a qualitative study to better understand the ways that vSNF employees engage with the implementation of such infection control measures. Methods: A PhD-candidate medical anthropologist conducted semistructured interviews with management (N = 5), nursing staff (N = 6), and certified nursing assistants (N = 6) at a vSNF in the Chicago region (Illinois) between September 2018 and November 2018. More than 11 hours of semistructured interviews were collected and transcribed. Data collection and analysis focused on identifying healthcare worker experiences during an infection control intervention. Transcriptions of the data were analyzed using thematic coding aided by MAXQDA qualitative analysis software. Results: Healthcare workers described the facility using language associated with a family environment (Table 1). Furthermore, healthcare workers demonstrated motivation to implement infection control policies (Table 2). However, healthcare workers expressed cultural and structural challenges encountered during implementation, such as their belief that some infection control measures discouraged maintenance of a home-like environment, lack of time, and understaffing. Some healthcare workers perceived that alcohol-based hand rub was ineffective over time and left unpleasant textures on the skin. Additionally, some workers did not trust the available gown and gloves used to prevent transmission. Lastly, healthcare workers typically did not prefer 2% CHG wipes over soap and water, citing residual resident postbathing smell as one indicator of CHG ineffectiveness. Conclusions: In a vSNF we found both considerable support and challenges implementing a CRE prevention bundle from the healthcare worker perspective. Healthcare workers were dedicated to recreating a home-like environment for their residents, which sometimes felt at odds with infection control interventions. Residual misconceptions (eg, alcohol-based hand rub is not effective) and negative worker perceptions (eg, permeability of contact precaution gowns and/or residue from alcohol-based hand rub) suggest that ongoing education and participation by healthcare workers in evaluating infection control products for interventions is critical.
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