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Background: Veterans Health Administration (VHA) community living centers (CLCs) provide postacute and long-term care. CLC veterans visit myriad locations outside their rooms (eg, rehabilitation, dialysis). Pathogen transmission during out-of-room visits is unknown. Methods: We recruited newly admitted veterans at 3 CLCs. After obtaining informed consent, we cultured nares, groin, hands, and 7 surfaces in the patient rooms. We accompanied veterans to up to 5 out-of-room visits and cultured patients’ hands and surfaces they touched. We tested for multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE), and quinolone, carbapenem, and/or ceftazidime-resistant gram-negative bacteria (R-GNB). We defined transmission as a positive culture following an initial negative culture during the same visit. Results: We enrolled 137 veterans (median follow-up, 29 days; mean, 5.9 visits); 97% were postacute patients. We conducted 539 patient-room sampling visits (mean, 3.9 per veteran; 5,490 swabs) and accompanied 97 veterans to 266 out-of-room sampling visits (mean, 2.7 per veteran; 2,360 swabs). Of 137 patients, 47 (35%) were colonized with an MDRO at enrollment and 74 (58%) of 128 patients were colonized on any follow-up patient-room visits. Of 133 patients, 55 (41%) acquired a new MDRO, most often VRE (31 of 97, 32%). In patient rooms, toilet seats [114 (21%) of 538], curtains [101 (19%) of 530] and bedrails [98 (18%) of 539] were most frequently contaminated. Among 266 out-of-room visits, 17% had surfaces contaminated with MDROs, most commonly involving dialysis [4 (31%) of 13], radiology [2 (25%) of 8], and rehabilitation therapy [29 (18%) of 159] (Fig. 1).Transmission of MDROs during out-of-room visits was common and occurred in 18% of visits with 8% (9 MRSA and 12 VRE) acquiring a new MDRO on their hands and 12% (9 MRSA and 23 VRE) of MDRO transmission occurring from hands to a surface that the patient touched (Fig. 1). In 18 (58%) of 31 cases, the organism transmitted to a surface was on patient hands at the start of the visit. Transmission was most common during visits to dialysis (3 to patients and 2 to surfaces), radiology (1 to a patient and 2 to surfaces), and rehabilitation therapy (13 to patients and 21 to surfaces) (Fig. 2). Conclusions: New MDRO acquisition during VHA CLC stay was common, and nearly one-fifth of out-of-room visits resulted in MDRO transmission. Our analyses suggest that veterans’ hands may shed MDROs (MRSA and VRE) to surfaces. Interventions to reduce MDRO transmission during visits for rehabilitation, dialysis, and other therapies are needed.
To explore infection preventionists’ perceptions of hospital leadership support for infection prevention and control programs during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and relationships with individual perceptions of burnout, psychological safety, and safety climate.
Cross-sectional survey, administered April through December 2021.
Random sample of non-federal acute-care hospitals in the United States.
Lead infection preventionists.
We received responses from 415 of 881 infection preventionists, representing a response rate of 47%. Among respondents, 64% reported very good to excellent hospital leadership support for their infection prevention and control program. However, 49% reported feeling burned out from their work. Also, ∼30% responded positively for all 7 psychological safety questions and were deemed to have “high psychological safety,” and 76% responded positively to the 2 safety climate questions and were deemed to have a “high safety climate.” Our results indicate an association between strong hospital leadership support and lower burnout (IRR, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.50–0.74), higher perceptions of psychological safety (IRR, 3.20; 95% CI, 2.00–5.10), and a corresponding 1.2 increase in safety climate on an ascending Likert scale from 1 to 10 (β, 1.21; 95% CI, 0.93–1.49).
Our national survey provides evidence that hospital leadership support may have helped infection preventionists avoid burnout and increase perceptions of psychological safety and safety climate during the COVID-19 pandemic. These findings aid in identifying factors that promote the well-being of infection preventionists and enhance the quality and safety of patient care.
The intent of this document is to highlight practical recommendations in a concise format designed to assist physicians, nurses, and infection preventionists at acute-care hospitals in implementing and prioritizing their catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) prevention efforts. This document updates the Strategies to Prevent Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections in Acute-Care Hospitals published in 2014. It is the product of a collaborative effort led by SHEA, the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), the American Hospital Association (AHA), and The Joint Commission.
This document introduces and explains common implementation concepts and frameworks relevant to healthcare epidemiology and infection prevention and control and can serve as a stand-alone guide or be paired with the “SHEA/IDSA/APIC Compendium of Strategies to Prevent Healthcare-Associated Infections in Acute Care Hospitals: 2022 Updates,” which contain technical implementation guidance for specific healthcare-associated infections. This Compendium article focuses on broad behavioral and socio-adaptive concepts and suggests ways that infection prevention and control teams, healthcare epidemiologists, infection preventionists, and specialty groups may utilize them to deliver high-quality care. Implementation concepts, frameworks, and models can help bridge the “knowing-doing” gap, a term used to describe why practices in healthcare may diverge from those recommended according to evidence. It aims to guide the reader to think about implementation and to find resources suited for a specific setting and circumstances by describing strategies for implementation, including determinants and measurement, as well as the conceptual models and frameworks: 4Es, Behavior Change Wheel, CUSP, European and Mixed Methods, Getting to Outcomes, Model for Improvement, RE-AIM, REP, and Theoretical Domains.
The ways that device-associated infection prevention practices changed during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic remain unknown. We collected data mid-pandemic to assess the use of several infection prevention practices and for comparison with historical data.
Repeated cross-sectional survey.
US acute-care hospitals.
We surveyed infection preventionists from a national random sample of 881 US acute-care hospitals in 2021 to estimate the current use of practices to prevent catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI), central line–associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI), and ventilator-associated events (VAE). We compared the 2021 results with those from surveys occurring every 4 years since 2005.
The 2021 survey response rate was 47%; previous survey response rates ranged from 59% to 72%. Regular use of most practices to prevent CLABSI (chlorhexidine gluconate for site antisepsis, 99.0%, and maximum sterile barrier precautions, 98.7%) and VAE (semirecumbent positioning, 93.4%, and sedation vacation, 85.8%) continued to increase or plateaued in 2021. Conversely, use of several CAUTI prevention practices (portable bladder ultrasound scanner, 65.6%; catheter reminders or nurse-initiated discontinuation, 66.3%; and intermittent catheterization, 37.3%) was lower in 2021, with a significant decrease for some practices compared to 2017 (P ≤ .02 for all comparisons). In 2021, 42.1% of hospitals reported regular use of the newer external urinary collection devices for women.
Although regular use of CLABSI and VAE preventive practices continued to increase (or plateaued), use of several CAUTI preventive practices decreased during the COVID-19 pandemic. Structural issues relating to care during the pandemic may have contributed to a decrease in device-associated infection prevention practices.
To assess the extent to which evidence-based practices are regularly used in acute care hospitals in different countries.
Cross-sectional survey study. Participants and setting: Infection preventionists in acute care hospitals in the United States (US), the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Japan.
Data collected from hospital surveys distributed between 2015 and 2017 were evaluated to determine the use of practices to prevent catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI), central-line–associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI), ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP), and Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI). Descriptive statistics were used to examine hospital characteristics and the percentage of hospitals reporting regular use of each infection prevention practice.
Survey response rates were 59% in the United States, 65% in the Netherlands, 77% in Switzerland, and 65% in Japan. Several recommended practices were used in the majority of hospitals: aseptic catheter insertion and maintenance (CAUTI), maximum sterile barrier precautions (CLABSI), semirecumbent patient positioning (VAP), and contact precautions and routine daily cleaning (CDI). Other prevention practices for CAUTI and VAP were used less frequently, particularly in Swiss and Japanese hospitals. Established surveillance systems were also lacking in Dutch, Swiss and Japanese hospitals.
Most hospitals in the United States, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Japan have adopted certain infection prevention practices. Clear opportunities for reducing HAI risk in hospitals exist across all 4 countries surveyed.
We assessed the long-term sustainability of a quality improvement intervention to reduce urethral catheter use at a Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital. During the 8 years after the initial intervention, point-prevalence surveillance showed that urethral catheter use continued to decrease (OR, 0.91; 95% CI, 0.86–0.97; P = .003) and that appropriateness of catheter use remained unchanged.
This SHEA white paper identifies knowledge gaps and challenges in healthcare epidemiology research related to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) with a focus on core principles of healthcare epidemiology. These gaps, revealed during the worst phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, are described in 10 sections: epidemiology, outbreak investigation, surveillance, isolation precaution practices, personal protective equipment (PPE), environmental contamination and disinfection, drug and supply shortages, antimicrobial stewardship, healthcare personnel (HCP) occupational safety, and return to work policies. Each section highlights three critical healthcare epidemiology research questions with detailed description provided in supplementary materials. This research agenda calls for translational studies from laboratory-based basic science research to well-designed, large-scale studies and health outcomes research. Research gaps and challenges related to nursing homes and social disparities are included. Collaborations across various disciplines, expertise and across diverse geographic locations will be critical.
We assessed infection prevention in Swiss hospitals via a national survey focusing on infection prevention practices prior to a large national infection prevention initiative. Of the 59 hospitals that responded (77%), 98% had infection prevention teams and 40% very good or excellent leadership support. However, a minority of hospitals used recommended infection prevention practices and surveillance systems regularly.
We conducted a prospective observational study of indications for use and patient experiences with midline catheters (n = 50) compared to peripherally inserted central catheters (n = 63). The primary indication for patients with midline catheters was difficult venous access. Patients with midline catheters reported fewer complications than patients with peripherally inserted central catheters.
Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) can be prevented through infection prevention practices and antibiotic stewardship. Diagnostic stewardship (ie, strategies to improve use of microbiological testing) can also improve antibiotic use. However, little is known about the use of such practices in US hospitals, especially after multidisciplinary stewardship programs became a requirement for US hospital accreditation in 2017. Thus, we surveyed US hospitals to assess antibiotic stewardship program composition, practices related to CDI, and diagnostic stewardship.
Surveys were mailed to infection preventionists at 900 randomly sampled US hospitals between May and October 2017. Hospitals were surveyed on antibiotic stewardship programs; CDI prevention, treatment, and testing practices; and diagnostic stewardship strategies. Responses were compared by hospital bed size using weighted logistic regression.
Overall, 528 surveys were completed (59% response rate). Almost all (95%) responding hospitals had an antibiotic stewardship program. Smaller hospitals were less likely to have stewardship team members with infectious diseases (ID) training, and only 41% of hospitals met The Joint Commission accreditation standards for multidisciplinary teams. Guideline-recommended CDI prevention practices were common. Smaller hospitals were less likely to use high-tech disinfection devices, fecal microbiota transplantation, or diagnostic stewardship strategies.
Following changes in accreditation standards, nearly all US hospitals now have an antibiotic stewardship program. However, many hospitals, especially smaller hospitals, appear to struggle with access to ID expertise and with deploying diagnostic stewardship strategies. CDI prevention could be enhanced through diagnostic stewardship and by emphasizing the role of non–ID-trained pharmacists and clinicians in antibiotic stewardship.
We conducted a preintervention–postintervention study to assess the effectiveness of a multimodal approach to reduce unnecessary urethral catheters in 5 Japanese intensive care units. After the intervention urethral catheter point prevalence decreased by 18%, from 79% preintervention to 61% postintervention, and catheter appropriateness increased by 28%, from 57% preintervention to 85% postintervention.
Collaborative programs have helped reduce catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) rates in community-based nursing homes. We assessed whether collaborative participation produced similar benefits among Veterans Health Administration (VHA) nursing homes, which are part of an integrated system.
This study included 63 VHA nursing homes enrolled in the “AHRQ Safety Program for Long-Term Care,” which focused on practices to reduce CAUTI.
Changes in CAUTI rates, catheter utilization, and urine culture orders were assessed from June 2015 through May 2016. Multilevel mixed-effects negative binomial regression was used to derive incidence rate ratios (IRRs) representing changes over the 12-month program period.
There was no significant change in CAUTI among VHA sites, with a CAUTI rate of 2.26 per 1,000 catheter days at month 1 and a rate of 3.19 at month 12 (incidence rate ratio [IRR], 0.99; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.67–1.44). Results were similar for catheter utilization rates, which were 11.02% at month 1 and 11.30% at month 12 (IRR, 1.02; 95% CI, 0.95–1.09). The numbers of urine cultures per 1,000 residents were 5.27 in month 1 and 5.31 in month 12 (IRR, 0.93; 95% CI, 0.82–1.05).
No changes in CAUTI rates, catheter use, or urine culture orders were found during the program period. One potential reason was the relatively low baseline CAUTI rate, as compared with a cohort of community-based nursing homes. This low baseline rate is likely related to the VHA’s prior CAUTI prevention efforts. While broad-scale collaborative approaches may be effective in some settings, targeting higher-prevalence safety issues may be warranted at sites already engaged in extensive infection prevention efforts.
Urinary catheters, many of which are placed in the emergency department (ED) setting, are often inappropriate, and they are associated with infectious and noninfectious complications. Although several studies evaluating the effect of interventions have focused on reducing catheter use in the ED setting, the organizational contexts within which these interventions were implemented have not been compared.
A total of 18 hospitals in the Ascension health system (ie, system-based hospitals) and 16 hospitals in the state of Michigan (ie, state-based hospitals led by the Michigan Health and Hospital Association) implemented ED interventions focused on reducing urinary catheter use. Data on urinary catheter placement in the ED, indications for catheter use, and presence of physician order for catheter placement were collected for interventions in both hospital types. Multilevel negative binomial regression was used to compare the system-based versus state-based interventions.
A total of 13,215 patients (889 with catheters) from the system-based intervention were compared to 12,104 patients (718 with catheters) from the state-based intervention. Statistically significant and sustainable reductions in urinary catheter placement (incidence rate ratio, 0.79; P=.02) and improvements in appropriate use of urinary catheters (odds ratio [OR], 1.86; P=.004) in the ED were observed in the system-based intervention, compared to the state-based intervention. Differences by collaborative structure in changes in presence of physician order for urinary catheter placement (OR, 1.14; P=.60) were not observed.
An ED intervention consisting of establishing institutional guidelines for appropriate catheter placement and identifying clinical champions to promote adherence was associated with reducing unnecessary urinary catheter use under a system-based collaborative structure.
More than 90% of Thai hospitals surveyed reported implementing environmental cleaning and disinfection (ECD) protocols. Hospital epidemiologist presence was associated with the existence of an ECD checklist (P=.01) and of ECD auditing (P=.001), while good and excellent hospital administrative support were associated with better adherence to ECD protocols (P<.001) and ECD checklists (P=.005).
The impact of healthcare system integration on infection prevention programs is unknown. Using catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) prevention as an example, we hypothesize that US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) nursing homes have a more robust infection prevention infrastructure due to integration and centralization compared with non–VA nursing homes.
VA and non-VA nursing homes participating in the AHRQ Safety Program for Long-Term Care collaborative.
Nursing homes provided baseline information about their infection prevention programs to assess strengths and gaps related to CAUTI prevention via a needs assessment questionnaire.
A total of 353 of 494 nursing homes from 41 states (71%; 47 VA and 306 non-VA facilities) responded. VA nursing homes reported more hours per week devoted to infection prevention-related activities (31 vs 12 hours; P<.001) and were more likely to have committees that reviewed healthcare-associated infections. Compared with non-VA facilities, a higher percentage of VA nursing homes reported tracking CAUTI rates (94% vs 66%; P<.001), sharing CAUTI data with leadership (94% vs 70%; P=.014) and with nursing personnel (85% vs 56%, P=.003). However, fewer VA nursing homes reported having policies for appropriate catheter use (64% vs 81%; P=.004) and catheter insertion (83% vs 94%; P=.004).
Among nursing homes participating in an AHRQ-funded collaborative, VA and non-VA nursing homes differed in their approach to CAUTI prevention. Best practices from both settings should be applied universally to create an optimal infection prevention program within emerging integrated healthcare systems.
To assess knowledge about infection prevention among nursing home personnel and identify gaps potentially addressable through a quality improvement collaborative.
Baseline knowledge assessment of catheter-associated urinary tract infection, asymptomatic bacteriuria, antimicrobial stewardship, and general infection prevention practices for healthcare-associated infections.
Nursing homes across 14 states participating in the national “Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Safety Program for Long-Term Care: Healthcare-Associated Infections/Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infection.”
Each facility aimed to obtain responses from at least 10 employees (5 licensed and 5 unlicensed). We assessed the percentage of correct responses.
A total of 184 (78%) of 236 participating facilities provided 1 response or more. Of the 1,626 respondents, 822 (50.6%) were licensed; 117 facilities (63.6%) were for-profit. While 99.1% of licensed personnel recognized the definition of asymptomatic bacteriuria, only 36.1% knew that pyuria could not distinguish a urinary tract infection from asymptomatic bacteriuria. Among unlicensed personnel, 99.6% knew to notify a nurse if a resident developed fever or confusion, but only 27.7% knew that cloudy, smelly urine should not routinely be cultured. Although 100% of respondents reported receiving training in hand hygiene, less than 30% knew how long to rub hands (28.5% licensed, 25.2% unlicensed) or the most effective agent to use (11.7% licensed, 10.6% unlicensed).
This national assessment demonstrates an important need to enhance infection prevention knowledge among healthcare personnel working in nursing homes to improve resident safety and quality of care.
Inappropriate treatment of asymptomatic bacteriuria (ASB) in the hospital setting is common. We sought to evaluate the treatment rate of ASB at the 3 hospitals and assess the impact of a hospitalist-focused improvement intervention.
Prospective, interventional trial.
Two community hospitals and a tertiary-care academic center.
Adult patients with a positive urine culture admitted to hospitalist services were included in this study. Exclusions included pregnancy, intensive care unit admission, history of a major urinary procedure, and actively being treated for a urinary tract infection (UTI) at the time of admission or >48 hours prior to urine collection.
An educational intervention using a pocket card was implemented at all sites followed by a pharmacist-based intervention at the academic center. Medical records of the first 50 eligible patients at each site were reviewed at baseline and after each intervention for signs and symptoms of UTI, microbiological results, antimicrobials used, and duration of treatment for positive urine cultures. Diagnosis of ASB was determined through adjudication by 2 hospitalists and 2 infectious diseases physicians.
Treatment rates of ASB decreased (23.5%; P=.001) after the educational intervention. Reductions in treatment rates for ASB differed by site and were greatest in patients without classic signs and symptoms of UTI (34.1%; P<.001) or urinary catheters (31.2%; P<.001). The pharmacist-based intervention was most effective at reducing ASB treatment rates in catheterized patients.
A hospitalist-focused educational intervention significantly reduced ASB treatment rates. The impact varied across sites and by patient characteristics, suggesting that a tailored approach may be useful.
The number of peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) lumens is associated with thrombotic and infectious complications. Because multilumen PICCs are not necessary in all patients, policies that limit their use may improve safety and cost.
To design a simulation-based analysis to estimate outcomes and cost associated with a policy that encourages single-lumen PICC use.
Model inputs, including risk of complications and costs associated with single- and multilumen PICCs, were obtained from available literature and a multihospital collaborative quality improvement project. Cost savings and reduction in central line–associated bloodstream infection and deep vein thrombosis events from institution of a single-lumen PICC default policy were reported.
According to our model, a hospital that places 1,000 PICCs per year (25% of which are single-lumen and 75% multilumen) experiences annual PICC-related maintenance and complication costs of $1,228,598 (95% CI, $1,053,175–$1,430,958). In such facilities, every 5% increase in single-lumen PICC use would prevent 0.5 PICC-related central line-associated bloodstream infections and 0.5 PICC-related deep vein thrombosis events, while saving $23,500. Moving from 25% to 50% single-lumen PICC utilization would result in total savings of $119,283 (95% CI, $74,030–$184,170) per year. Regardless of baseline prevalence, a single-lumen default PICC policy would be associated with approximately 10% cost savings. Findings remained robust in multiway sensitivity analyses.
Hospital policies that limit the number of PICC lumens may enhance patient safety and reduce healthcare costs. Studies measuring intended and unintended consequences of this approach, followed by rapid adoption, appear necessary.