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Central-line–associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI) surveillance in home infusion therapy is necessary to track efforts to reduce infections, but a standardized, validated, and feasible definition is lacking. We tested the validity of a home-infusion CLABSI surveillance definition and the feasibility and acceptability of its implementation.
Mixed-methods study including validation of CLABSI cases and semistructured interviews with staff applying these approaches.
This study was conducted in 5 large home-infusion agencies in a CLABSI prevention collaborative across 14 states and the District of Columbia.
From May 2021 to May 2022, agencies implemented a home-infusion CLABSI surveillance definition, using 3 approaches to secondary bloodstream infections (BSIs): National Healthcare Safety Program (NHSN) criteria, modified NHSN criteria (only applying the 4 most common NHSN-defined secondary BSIs), and all home-infusion–onset bacteremia (HiOB). Data on all positive blood cultures were sent to an infection preventionist for validation. Surveillance staff underwent semistructured interviews focused on their perceptions of the definition 1 and 3–4 months after implementation.
Interrater reliability scores overall ranged from κ = 0.65 for the modified NHSN criteria to κ = 0.68 for the NHSN criteria to κ = 0.72 for the HiOB criteria. For the NHSN criteria, the agency-determined rate was 0.21 per 1,000 central-line (CL) days, and the validator-determined rate was 0.20 per 1,000 CL days. Overall, implementing a standardized definition was thought to be a positive change that would be generalizable and feasible though time-consuming and labor intensive.
The home-infusion CLABSI surveillance definition was valid and feasible to implement.
Access to patient information may affect how home-infusion surveillance staff identify central-line–associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs). We characterized information hazards in home-infusion CLABSI surveillance and identified possible strategies to mitigate information hazards.
Qualitative study using semistructured interviews.
Setting and participants:
The study included 21 clinical staff members involved in CLABSI surveillance at 5 large home-infusion agencies covering 13 states and the District of Columbia. Methods: Interviews were conducted by 1 researcher. Transcripts were coded by 2 researchers; consensus was reached by discussion.
Data revealed the following barriers: information overload, information underload, information scatter, information conflict, and erroneous information. Respondents identified 5 strategies to mitigate information chaos: (1) engage information technology in developing reports; (2) develop streamlined processes for acquiring and sharing data among staff; (3) enable staff access to hospital electronic health records; (4) use a single, validated, home-infusion CLABSI surveillance definition; and (5) develop relationships between home-infusion surveillance staff and inpatient healthcare workers.
Information chaos occurs in home-infusion CLABSI surveillance and may affect the development of accurate CLABSI rates in home-infusion therapy. Implementing strategies to minimize information chaos will enhance intra- and interteam collaborations in addition to improving patient-related outcomes.
In total, 50 healthcare facilities completed a survey in 2021 to characterize changes in infection prevention and control and antibiotic stewardship practices. Notable findings include sustained surveillance for multidrug-resistant organisms but decreased use of human resource-intensive interventions compared to previous surveys in 2013 and 2018 conducted prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Antibiotic overuse is common in ambulatory care settings, underscoring the importance of outpatient antibiotic stewardship to ensure safe and effective antibiotic prescription. In response to this need, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) developed the AHRQ Safety Program for Improving Antibiotic Use in Ambulatory Care. The Safety Program successfully assisted 389 outpatient practices across the United States to establish ambulatory antibiotic stewardship. Herein, we have used lessons learned from the AHRQ Safety Program to describe a step-by-step framework to assist practices with establishing antibiotic stewardship in the outpatient setting. Steps include obtaining support from practice leadership; establishing an antibiotic stewardship team; garnering support from practice members; determining how to access antibiotic prescribing data; building communication skills around antibiotic use in the practice; implementing educational content around an infectious syndrome; monitoring antibiotic prescription data; and implementing a sustainability plan.
Healthcare workers (HCWs) not adhering to physical distancing recommendations is a risk factor for acquisition of severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The study objective was to assess the impact of interventions to improve HCW physical distancing on actual distance between HCWs in a real-life setting.
HCWs voluntarily wore proximity beacons to measure the number and intensity of physical distancing interactions between each other in a pediatric intensive care unit. We compared interactions before and after implementing a bundle of interventions including changes to the layout of workstations, cognitive aids, and individual feedback from wearable proximity beacons.
Overall, we recorded 10,788 interactions within 6 feet (∼2 m) and lasting >5 seconds. The number of HCWs wearing beacons fluctuated daily and increased over the study period. On average, 13 beacons were worn daily (32% of possible staff; range, 2–32 per day). We recorded 3,218 interactions before the interventions and 7,570 interactions after the interventions began. Using regression analysis accounting for the maximum number of potential interactions if all staff had worn beacons on a given day, there was a 1% decline in the number of interactions per possible interactions in the postintervention period (incident rate ratio, 0.99; 95% confidence interval, 0.98–1.00; P = .02) with fewer interactions occurring at nursing stations, in workrooms and during morning rounds.
Using quantitative data from wearable proximity beacons, we found an overall small decline in interactions within 6 feet between HCWs in a busy intensive care unit after a multifaceted bundle of interventions was implemented to improve physical distancing.
Physical distancing among healthcare workers (HCWs) is an essential strategy in preventing HCW-to-HCWs transmission of severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).
To understand barriers to physical distancing among HCWs on an inpatient unit and identify strategies for improvement.
Qualitative study including observations and semistructured interviews conducted over 3 months.
A non–COVID-19 adult general medical unit in an academic tertiary-care hospital.
HCWs based on the unit.
We performed a qualitative study in which we (1) observed HCW activities and proximity to each other on the unit during weekday shifts July–October 2020 and (2) conducted semi-structured interviews of HCWs to understand their experiences with and perspectives of physical distancing in the hospital. Qualitative data were coded based on a human-factors engineering model.
We completed 25 hours of observations and 20 HCW interviews. High-risk interactions often occurred during handoffs of care at shift changes and patient rounds, when HCWs gathered regularly in close proximity for at least 15 minutes. Identified barriers included spacing and availability of computers, the need to communicate confidential patient information, and the desire to maintain relationships at work.
Physical distancing can be improved in hospitals by restructuring computer workstations, work rooms, and break rooms; applying visible cognitive aids; adapting shift times; and supporting rounds and meetings with virtual conferencing. Additional strategies to promote staff adherence to physical distancing include rewarding positive behaviors, having peer leaders model physical distancing, and encouraging additional safe avenues for social connection at a safe distance.
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.
In a qualitative study of healthcare workers and patients discharged on oral antibiotics, we identified 5 barriers to antibiotic decision making at hospital discharge: clinician perceptions of patient expectations, diagnostic uncertainty, attending physician–led versus multidisciplinary team culture, not accounting for total antibiotic duration, and need for discharge prior to complete data.
In this systematic evaluation of fluorescent gel markers (FGM) applied to high-touch surfaces with a metered applicator (MA) made for the purpose versus a generic cotton swab (CS), removal rates were 60.5% (476 of 787) for the MA and 64.3% (506 of 787) for the CS. MA-FGM removal interpretation was more consistent, 83% versus 50% not removed, possibly due to less varied application and more adhesive gel.
Patients are frequently discharged with central venous catheters (CVCs) for home infusion therapy.
To study a prospective cohort of patients receiving home infusion therapy to identify environmental and other risk factors for complications.
Prospective cohort study between March and December 2015.
Home infusion therapy after discharge from academic medical centers.
Of 368 eligible patients discharged from 2 academic hospitals to home with peripherally inserted central catheters and tunneled CVCs, 222 consented. Patients remained in the study until 30 days after CVC removal.
Patients underwent chart abstraction and monthly telephone surveys while the CVC was in place, focusing on complications and environmental exposures. Multivariable analyses estimated adjusted odds ratios and adjusted incident rate ratios between clinical, demographic, and environmental risk factors and 30-day readmissions or CVC complications.
Of 222 patients, total parenteral nutrition was associated with increased 30-day readmissions (adjusted odds ratio, 4.80 [95% CI, 1.51–15.21) and CVC complications (adjusted odds ratio, 2.41 [95% CI, 1.09–5.33]). Exposure to soil through gardening or yard work was associated with a decreased likelihood of readmissions (adjusted odds ratio, 0.09 [95% CI, 0.01–0.74]). Other environmental exposures were not associated with CVC complications.
complications and readmissions were common and associated with the use of total parenteral nutrition. Common environmental exposures (well water, cooking with raw meat, or pets) did not increase the rate of CVC complications, whereas soil exposures were associated with decreased readmissions. Interventions to decrease home CVC complications should focus on total parenteral nutrition patients.
Little is known about whether those performing healthcare-associated infection (HAI) surveillance vary in their interpretations of HAI definitions developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN). Our primary objective was to characterize variations in these interpretations using clinical vignettes. We also describe predictors of variation in responses.
A sample of US-based members of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) Research Network.
Respondents assessed whether each of 6 clinical vignettes met criteria for an NHSN-defined HAI. Individual- and institutional-level data were also gathered.
Surveys were distributed to 143 SHEA Research Network members from 126 hospitals. In total, 113 responses were obtained, representing at least 61 unique hospitals (30 respondents did not identify a hospital); 79.2% (84 of 106 nonmissing responses) were infection preventionists, and 79.4% (81 of 102 nonmissing responses) worked at academic hospitals. Among the 6 vignettes, the proportion of respondents correctly characterizing the vignettes was as low as 27.3%. Combining all 6 vignettes, the mean percentage of correct responses was 61.1% (95% confidence interval, 57.7%–63.8%). Percentage of correct responses was associated with presence of a clinical background (ie, nursing or physician degrees) but not with hospital size or infection prevention and control department characteristics.
Substantial heterogeneity exists in the application of HAI definitions in this survey of infection preventionists and hospital epidemiologists. Our data suggest a need to better clarify these definitions, especially when comparing HAI rates across institutions.