Dentist Infection Control

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CDC Funds Dialysis Bloodstream Infection Research Led By American Society of Nephrology

The American Society of Nephrology (ASN) has announced that its Nephrologists Transforming Dialysis Safety (NTDS) initiative has received a contract from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to study barriers to implementation of recommended practices intended to help reduce dialysis-related infections.

NTDS will partner with researchers from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University to focus on the following four areas of patient safety:

  1. central venous catheter access and care; 
  2. dialysis station disinfection; 
  3. hand hygiene; and 
  4. injection safety.
Human factors researchers will observe six diverse dialysis facilities beginning this summer, targeting a conclusion in July 2019.

The CDC contract will fund work that expands NTDS's current infection prevention efforts. In 2016, CDC awarded ASN a three-year contract to spearhead the NTDS project, which was launched to help prevention infection in dialysis facilities.


Study: High Hospital Occupancy Not Linked to Higher Patient Infection Risk

The surprising results of a new study indicate that there is no correlation between increased risk of hospital-acquired infection and increased hospital occupancy.

Researchers analyzed more than 558,000 patient discharges from 327 acute care hospitals in California between 2008–2012. They specifically examined data on patients who had contracted a Clostridium difficile infection (CDI), of which there were a little over 2,000. 

The researchers found that patients were most likely to acquire CDI when inpatient occupancy was between 25% and 75% full. In fact, when patients were admitted to a unit with between 25% and 75% capacity, they had an over three-fold increase in odds of acquiring CDI when compared to patients in units at below 25% or above 75% capacity.

As the researchers note, "These findings suggest that an exploration of the processes associated with hospitals accommodating higher occupancy might elucidate measures to reduce CDI. How do staffing, implementation of policies and routine procedures vary when hospitals are busy or quiet? What aspects of care delivery that function well during high and low occupancy periods breakdown during intermediate occupancy? Hospital policies, practices and procedures during different phases of occupancy might inform best practices."

They continue, "These data suggest that hospital occupancy level should be a routinely collected data element by infection control officers and that this should be linked with protocols triggered or modified with high or low occupancy that might affect hospital-acquired conditions."

The study was conducted by the University of Michigan and RAND Corp. and published in the Journal of Hospital Medicine.


Get Your Free Sepsis Educational Resources from CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is making it easier for healthcare organizations to provide their patients with valuable sepsis educational materials.

Organizations can now order the free "Get Ahead of Sepsis" print materials two ways:
  1. Online by visiting Select "Sepsis" from the "Programs" dropdown menu and click "Search." 
  2. By phone by calling (800) CDC-INFO (232-4636). 
Types of materials available include the following:
  • fact sheets;
  • pocket guides;
  • posters; and
  • brochures.
CDC notes that these materials are designed help patients, families and healthcare professionals learn about ways to address sepsis, including:
  • knowing its signs and symptoms; 
  • being alert and acting fast if sepsis is suspected;
  • preventing infections and staying healthy; and 
  • starting a conversation about sepsis during doctor's appointments. 
CDC recommends organizations distribute the materials at patient appointments, community health fairs and conferences; in patient discharge packets; and when speaking with family members about sepsis.

Statistics show that more than 1.5 million people in the United States get sepsis every year, with about 250,000 Americans dying from sepsis every year. One in three patients who die in a hospital have sepsis.


Study: Nursing Attitude Toward Infection Control Affects Compliance

A new study reveals a correlation between home healthcare nurses' attitudes toward infection control and compliance rates.

Researchers surveyed more than 350 nurses at two large home healthcare agencies. What they found was nurses with positive attitudes toward infection control had higher levels of infection control compliance. Knowledge of inflection control practices, on the other hand, was not associated with compliance.

The authors conclude, "These findings suggest that efforts to improve compliance with infection control practices in home healthcare should focus on strategies to alter perceptions about infection risk and other attitudinal factors."

Study results were published in the American Journal of Infection Control.

The research was funded by a grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.


Study: Clostridium Difficile Infections Decline 36% in Canadian Hospitals

A new study indicates that Clostridium difficile infections rates decreased about 36% in Canadian hospitals from 2009–2015.

The results were published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).

Researchers reviewed data — specifically patient demographic characteristics, severity of infection and outcomes — from the Canadian Nosocomial Infection Surveillance Program, a network of acute care hospitals. The researchers found that over the period from 2009–2015, more than 20,000 adult patients were admitted with healthcare-associated C. diff and had their infection reported to CNISP.

The analysis revealed that the national C. diff infection rate decreased from 5.9 to 4.3 per 10,000 patient days from 2009–2015. The rate peaked at 6.7 infections per 10,000 patient days in 2011 and reached a nadir of 4.3 infections per 10,000 patient days in 2015 — a 35.8% relative decrease in national infection rate.

As a press release noted, the infection rate decrease may be linked to efforts to improve infection control measures, such as better testing, more judicious use of antibiotics, frequent handwashing and better, more frequent cleaning of facilities. These undertakings began after infection outbreaks 10-15 years ago.

The authors stated, "Infection prevention and control practices, antimicrobial stewardship and environmental cleaning should continue to be strengthened at the local level, as these areas positively affect institutional rates of healthcare-associated C. difficile infection, regardless of circulating strain types."


Hospitals Increasingly Requiring Influenza Vaccine for Staff

A new study reveals a significant surge in the number of hospitals requiring healthcare personnel (HCP) to receive influenza vaccines.

The study, published in JAMA Network Open, examined more than 1,000 survey responses from infection preventionists at Veterans Affairs (VA) and non-VA hospitals between 2013 and 2017.

During this time, required influenza vaccinations among HCP rose from 37.1% to 61.4%, driven by increases at non-VA hospitals.

The study authors note that while mandating influenza vaccinations leads to increased HCP vaccination coverage, other strategies, such as education, free and easily accessible vaccinations, campaigns and data sharing, can also help encourage greater vaccination.

It is important to note that this study concluded prior to a September 2017 directive stating that that all VA HCP were expected to receive the annual influenza vaccination. Those HCP unwilling or unable to do so are required to wear masks throughout the influenza season.



Hospital-Acquired Conditions Decline 8%, Saving Thousands of Lives

From 2014 to 2016, rates of hospital-acquired conditions (HACs) fell by 8% percent, according to new data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). This decline translated to saving about 8,000 lives and $2.9 billion in healthcare costs.

Examples of HACs include adverse drug events, catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs), central-line associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs), pressure injuries and surgical site infections (SSIs).

The "AHRQ National Scorecard on Hospital-Acquired Conditions" estimates that 350,000 HACs were avoided during the 2014 to 2016 period. This builds on previous gains made between 2010 and 2014, during which an estimated 2.1 million HACs were avoided.

The most significant percentage declines from 2014 to 2016 were seen in ventilator-associated pneumonias (-32%), CLABSIs (-31%), post-op venous thromboembolisms (-21%) and adverse drug events (-15%). Despite these improvements, and the impressive overall improvement, there were some concerning trends. Pressure ulcers and CAUTIs increased from 2014 to 2016 at rates of 10% and 4%, respectively. SSIs remained unchanged.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has established a goal of reducing HACs by 20% percent from 2014 through 2019. If the reduction goal is met, AHRQ projects that during 2015 through 2019, there would be 1.8 million fewer patients with HACs, which would result in 53,000 fewer deaths and $19.1 billion in healthcare cost savings.