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We investigated whether and how infection prevention programs monitor for health disparities as part of healthcare-associated infection (HAI) surveillance through a survey of healthcare epidemiology leaders. Most facilities are not assessing for disparities in HAI rates. Professional society and national guidance should focus on addressing this gap.
Background: Inequities are seen in many health-related outcomes, and systemic and structural factors result in inequitable care based on social determinants of health (SDOH). However, whether disparities exist specifically in healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) based on these factors has not been well described. Furthermore, there are no national standards on whether information related to equity and SDOH should be included in HAI surveillance and how such information could be used. Methods: We surveyed US members of the SHEA Research Network (SRN), a consortium of healthcare facilities with leaders interested in healthcare epidemiology and infection prevention, via an online REDCap survey from October to December 2021. Results: Of the 68 eligible US SRN facilities, 28 (41%) responded. Among them, 27 institutions provide direct patient care and were analyzed. Of these 27 facilities, 8 (30%) collected data regarding variables related to equity including language for care, race or ethnicity, insurance status, and other. Of these faclilities, 38% are collecting but not otherwise using this information; other facilities use this information for a variety of reporting and intervention purposes (Fig. 2). Only 3 facilities (11%) analyzed whether disparities exist in any HAI rates. The most common barrier to collecting SDOH information is that facilities have not considered doing this work (Fig. 3). Of the 15 facilities not yet undertaking such work, 10 (67%) were interested in doing so. Specific recommendations about how to operationalize such collection are needed (Table 1). Conclusions: Most institutions in this sample are not collecting data that would allow for assessment of disparities in the rates of HAIs; however, there is interest in doing so. A minority of early adopter facilities are assessing whether disparities exist and are designing interventions. National guidance can play a key role in standardizing the collection of this information and translating early findings to identify and subsequently improve disparities within HAIs.
To develop a pediatric research agenda focused on pediatric healthcare-associated infections and antimicrobial stewardship topics that will yield the highest impact on child health.
The study included 26 geographically diverse adult and pediatric infectious diseases clinicians with expertise in healthcare-associated infection prevention and/or antimicrobial stewardship (topic identification and ranking of priorities), as well as members of the Division of Healthcare Quality and Promotion at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (topic identification).
Using a modified Delphi approach, expert recommendations were generated through an iterative process for identifying pediatric research priorities in healthcare associated infection prevention and antimicrobial stewardship. The multistep, 7-month process included a literature review, interactive teleconferences, web-based surveys, and 2 in-person meetings.
A final list of 12 high-priority research topics were generated in the 2 domains. High-priority healthcare-associated infection topics included judicious testing for Clostridioides difficile infection, chlorhexidine (CHG) bathing, measuring and preventing hospital-onset bloodstream infection rates, surgical site infection prevention, surveillance and prevention of multidrug resistant gram-negative rod infections. Antimicrobial stewardship topics included β-lactam allergy de-labeling, judicious use of perioperative antibiotics, intravenous to oral conversion of antimicrobial therapy, developing a patient-level “harm index” for antibiotic exposure, and benchmarking and or peer comparison of antibiotic use for common inpatient conditions.
We identified 6 healthcare-associated infection topics and 6 antimicrobial stewardship topics as potentially high-impact targets for pediatric research.
Background: Discontinuation of contact precautions for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant Enterococci (VRE) have failed to show an increase in associated transmission or infections in adult healthcare settings. Pediatric experience is limited. Objective: We evaluated the impact of discontinuing contact precautions for MRSA, VRE, and extended-spectrum β-lactamase–producing gram-negative bacilli (ESBLs) on device-associated healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). Methods: In October 2018, contact precautions were discontinued for children with MRSA, VRE, and ESBLs in a large, tertiary-care pediatric healthcare system comprising 2 hospitals and 620 beds. Coincident interventions that potentially reduced HAIs included blood culture diagnostic stewardship (June 2018), a hand hygiene education initiative (July 2018), a handshake antibiotic stewardship program (December 2018) and multidisciplinary infection prevention rounding in the intensive care units (November 2018). Compliance with hand hygiene and HAI prevention bundles were monitored. Device-associated HAIs were identified using standard definitions. Annotated run charts were used to track the impact of interventions on changes in device-associated HAIs over time. Results: Average hand hygiene compliance was 91%. Compliance with HAI prevention bundles was 81% for ventilator-associated pneumonias, 90% for catheter-associated urinary tract infections, and 97% for central-line–associated bloodstream infections. Overall, device-associated HAIs decreased from 6.04 per 10,000 patient days to 3.25 per 10,000 patient days after October 2018 (Fig. 1). Prior to October 2018, MRSA, VRE and ESBLs accounted for 10% of device-associated HAIs. This rate decreased to 5% after October 2018. The decrease in HAIs was likely related to interventions such as infection prevention rounds and handshake stewardship. Conclusions: Discontinuation of contact precautions for children with MRSA, VRE, and ESBLs were not associated with increased device-associated HAIs, and such discontinuation is likely safe in the setting of robust infection prevention and antibiotic stewardship programs.
Background: Children with contagious illness are frequently cared for in the pediatric emergency department. Incomplete infection prevention knowledge and incorrect practices create opportunities for transmission of pathogens. We implemented an educational intervention to improve clinician infection prevention knowledge and behavior. Methods: Clinicians providing care in an academic tertiary-care affiliated, pediatric ED were invited to participate in a 3-month educational intervention focusing on basic infection prevention principles such as hand hygiene and symptom-based isolation. Qstream, an educational platform that employs spaced-learning and game theory, was used to develop and electronically distribute 7 scenario-based questions. Questions were distributed 1 question per day 3 times per week. Questions were repeated until they were answered correctly twice. Round 1 of questions began in March 2019. After a ~4-week hiatus, the process was repeated in May 2019 (round 2). The Kirkpatrick model was used to measure the effectiveness of the educational intervention. Outcomes included clinician assessment of acceptability of the intervention, change in correct responses to knowledge-based questions over time, hand hygiene performance of clinicians and the number of infectious exposures in the emergency department. Results: Overall, 61 (73%) clinicians participated, of whom >90% liked the format, found it easy to use, and thought it required an appropriate amount of time. During round 1, average proficiency increased from 36% to 64%. During round 2, average proficiency increased from 62% to 78%. Starting in May 2019, physician hand hygiene gradually increased from a baseline of 78% to 100%. In the 10 months before and after March 2019, there were 2 exposure events involving 10 healthcare personnel versus 3 exposure events involving 4 healthcare personnel. Conclusions: Novel education strategies that utilize adult learning principles are user-friendly effective strategies that improve infection prevention knowledge and practice.
To identify risk factors associated with surgical site infection (SSI) after pediatric posterior spinal fusion procedure by examining characteristics related to the patient, the surgical procedure, and tissue hypoxia.
Retrospective case-control study nested in a hospital cohort study.
A 475-bed, tertiary care children's hospital.
All patients who underwent a spinal fusion procedure during the period from January 1995 through December 2006 were included. SSI cases were identified by means of prospective surveillance using National Nosocomial Infection Surveillance system definitions. Forty-four case patients who underwent a posterior spinal fusion procedure and developed an SSI were identified and evaluated. Each case patient was matched (on the basis of date of surgery, ± 3 months) to 3 control patients who underwent a posterior spinal fusion procedure but did not develop an SSI. Risk factors for SSI were evaluated by univariate analysis and multivariable conditional logistic regression. Odds ratios (ORs), with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) and P values, were calculated.
From 1995 to 2006, the mean annual rate of SSI after posterior spinal fusion procedure was 4.4% (range, 1.1%—6.7%). Significant risk factors associated with SSI in the univariate analysis included the following: a body mass index (BMI) greater than the 95th percentile (OR, 3.5 [95% CI, 1.5–8.3]); antibiotic prophylaxis with clindamycin, compared with other antibiotics (OR, 3.5 [95% CI, 1.2 10.0]); inappropriately low dose of antibiotic (OR, 2.6 [95% CI, 1.0–6.6]); and a longer duration of hypothermia (ie, a core body temperature of less than 35.5°C) during surgery (OR, 0.4 [95% CI, 0.2–0.9]). An American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) score of greater than 2, obesity (ie, a BMI greater than the 95th percentile), antibiotic prophylaxis with clindamycin, and hypothermia were statistically significant in the multivariable model.
An ASA score greater than 2, obesity, and antibiotic prophylaxis with clindamycin were independent risk factors for SSI. Hypothermia during surgery appears to provide protection against SSI in this patient population.
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