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Joint Commission Urges Hospitals to Protect Workers from Abuse

This story originally ran on HCPro’s OSHA Healthcare Advisor.

The Joint Commission is the latest healthcare heavy-hitter to call for better protection of healthcare workers, announcing on Tuesday the creation of Sentinel Event Alert 59, which addresses violence—physical and verbal—against healthcare workers.

About 75% of workplace assaults occur in healthcare and social service sector each year, and violence-related injuries are four times more likely to cause healthcare workers to take time off from work than other kinds of injuries.

The purpose of the new alert is to help hospitals and other healthcare organizations better recognize workplace violence directed by patients and visitors toward healthcare workers and better prepare healthcare staff to address workplace violence, both in real time and afterward, The Joint Commission wrote in this latest Sentinel Event Alert publication.

Sentinel Event Alert 59 has some overlap with Alerts 40 and 57—which were released in 2008 and 2017, respectively, and focused on the development and maintenance of safety culture—and therefore were not addressed in this alert.

Per the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), about 75% of workplace assaults annually occurred in the healthcare and social service sector. Violence-related injuries are four times more likely to cause healthcare workers to take time off from work than other kinds of injuries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The Joint Commission cites both of those facts in this Sentinel Event Alert publication and adds that Joint Commission data show 68 incidents of homicide, rape, or assault of hospital staff members over the past eight years—and that’s mostly only what hospitals voluntarily reported.

The Joint Commission is calling for each incident of violence or credible threat of violence to be reported to leadership, internal security, and—if necessary—law enforcement, and it also wants an incident report to be created. Under its Sentinel Event policy, The Joint Commission says that any rape, any assault that leads to death or harm, or any homicide of a patient, visitor, employee, licensed independent practitioner, or vendor on hospital property should be considered a sentinel event and requires a comprehensive systematic analysis.

Additionally, The accreditor says it’s up to the healthcare organization to specifically define unacceptable behavior and determine what is severe enough to warrant an investigation.

This Sentinel Event Alert, which you can download here along with other resources, comes on the heels of an emergency preparedness rule from CMS that recently went into effect and efforts from the National Fire Protection Association to fast-track its new standard for active shooter events and other violent incidents. OSHA is also considering a standard to help protect healthcare and social workers from violence.

CDC Warns of New Wave of Antibiotic-Resistant Germs in U.S.

A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Vital Signs report released this week said health departments found more than 220 cases of germs with “unusual antibiotic resistance genes” in the United States last year. These germs include those that cannot be killed by all or most antibiotics, are not common to a geographic area or the U.S., or have specific genes that enable them to spread their resistance to other germs, according to a CDC release.

The CDC’s Antibiotic Resistance (AR) Lab worked with local health departments to deploy a containment strategy to stop the spread of antibiotic resistance. The first step is rapid identification of new or rare threats; after a germ with unusual resistance is detected, facilities must quickly isolate patients and begin aggressive infection control and screening actions, according to the release.

“CDC’s study found several dangerous pathogens, hiding in plain sight, that can cause infections that are difficult or impossible to treat,” said Anne Schuchat, MD, CDC’s principal deputy director, in the release. “It’s reassuring to see that state and local experts, using our containment strategy, identified and stopped these resistant bacteria before they had the opportunity to spread.”

After rapid identification of antibiotic resistance, the CDC strategy calls for infection control assessments, testing patients without symptoms who may carry and spread the germ, and continued assessments until the spread is stopped. It requires coordinated response among healthcare facilities, labs, health departments, and the CDC through the AR Lab Network.

The CDC study also found that about one in 10 screening tests of patients without symptoms found a hard-to-treat germ that spreads easily, which means the germ could have spread undetected in that facility. For carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), the report estimates that the containment strategy would prevent as many as 1,600 new infections in three years in a single state, which would be a 76% reduction.

Story originally published by our friends at PSQH!

Avoid Eyewash-Related Regulatory Compliance Issues

Eyewash stations continue to confuse and confound healthcare organizations (HCO). Not only can they pose infection control and safety issues for workers, they can be a point of contention between HCOs and surveyors, who often seem to work by different sets of rules.

During this 90-minute webinar on May 31, former hospital administrator and accreditation expert John R. Rosing, MHA, FACHE, will explain what regulators like CMS, The Joint Commission, and OSHA expect from an HCO’s eyewash stations. He will provide the steps personnel can take to keep staff safe and the organization in compliance with rules and regulations. Attendees will learn how to avoid eyewash-related regulatory compliance issues, how to perform a risk assessment to determine when an eyewash station is necessary, and what type of eyewash station they need.

At the conclusion of this program, participants will be able to:

  • Avoid eyewash-related regulatory compliance issues
  • Perform a risk assessment to determine when an eyewash station is needed
  • Identify what type of eyewash station is needed
  • Properly maintain eyewash stations

Presented on:
Thursday, May 31, 2018
1:00-2:30 p.m. ET

Presented by:
John R. Rosing, MHA, FACHE

Level of Program:

Intermediate

To register or get more information, please visit the event page at HCMarketplace.com.

Healthcare and Law Enforcement: Working Together Instead of Against Each Other

A working relationship with law enforcement is key to the safety, efficacy, and well-being of everyone in the hospital. That said, hospitals and law enforcement have different goals, and while the two usually work well together, they can find themselves at odds.

During this 90-minute webinar on May 22, industry expert Lisa Terry, CHPA, CPP, will review the hospital’s role in successfully partnering with law enforcement. She will discuss how to balance best practices for ensuring the safety of patients as well as the hospital staff. Participants will also learn how they should communicate with law enforcement, as well as how to plan and implement “crucial conversations” between hospitals and law enforcement.

At the conclusion of this program, participants will be able to:

  • Access and use the best resources on how hospitals who are treating patients “under arrest” should interact with the police
  • Plan and implement “crucial conversations” between the hospital/healthcare executive team and local law enforcement leadership
  • Use the tenets and teachings of “Verbal Judo” to benefit both clinicians and law enforcement first responders
  • Understand how hospitals can support and help facilitate law enforcement’s “guardians of the peace” mentality as they partner with hospitals
  • Apply enterprise security risk management (ESRM) to situations that may arise

Presented on:
Tuesday, May 22, 2018
1:00-2:30 p.m. Eastern

Presented by:
Lisa Terry, CHPA, CPP

Level of Program:
Intermediate

To register or get more information, please visit the event page at HCMarketplace.com.

3 Ways to Knock C. diff Rates Down to Zero

For Necia Kimber, RN, CIC, MHA, infection control practitioner at Stillwater (Oklahoma) Medical Center, “one infection is too many.” Fortunately, when it comes to C. diff, Kimber has infection rates at the healthcare organization at just the right number: zero.

Thanks to a multifaceted approach, the 177-bed hospital with average daily census of 60 patients, has not seen a hospital-acquired case of C. diff since October 2017.

While the organization’s rates were not above the national average, Kimber still wanted to reduce the bioburden—particularly of C. diff, MRSA, VRE, and CRE—within the hospital.

“We didn’t have a high rate that made me say, ‘Oh, my goodness!’ It was just wanting to do overall good and making sure we were doing the best we could,” she says. “This is the hospital I’m going to bring my family to and I want to provide the best care for anybody who walks through that door.”

Here are three ways Kimber achieved lower infection rates at Stillwater Medical Center:

1. Education
Kimber spearheaded an antimicrobial stewardship program at the facility in 2017. There was also assessment of and education regarding ordering of C. diff testing.

“[As healthcare professionals], when you have a patient and you can’t find anything with normal testing, we tend to expound our testing,” she says. “Sometimes it would end up hurting us with pay-for-performance—if [the patient] tested positive for [C. diff, it] didn’t mean they were actually infected with it. They can just be colonized with it.”

The infection control team provided education on national standards for ordering C. diff testing, including testing only when patients were symptomatic of the infection. The IC team provided nurses and physicians with education on when to implement C. diff precautions with the intent that earlier intervention would prevent transmission.

2. Hand hygiene and cleanliness
Hand hygiene was a focus area for preventing the spread of infections at Stillwater.

“We do a program that’s a commitment to excellence,” she says. “Last year we did a huge push on hand hygiene.”

Each month, “secret shoppers” do direct observation on the units to assess issues regarding hand hygiene.

“What we check for is hand hygiene upon entering the room and upon leaving the room,” Kimber says.

To increase patients’ sense of safety, Kimber says she has reinforced hand hygiene practices with clinicians so that even if nurses or physicians have just cleaned their hands with alcohol foam or gel after exiting a room, they need to reapply it if they are going directly into a new room, even if they have not touched anything between rooms.

In addition, Stillwater Medical Center is using a bleach-based product to clean all rooms and equipment after a patient is discharged.

“We used to only [use bleach] on positive C. diff rooms,” Kimber explains. “Now we use it on all rooms because there are so many people who are carriers and not showing signs [of infection] until after they’ve been discharged.”

Kimber also educates environmental services staff on the “why” behind cleaning techniques.

“What we honed-in on is the actual cleaning of the area—friction and leaving the products on for the allotted time to disrupt the replication of cells and bacteria,” she says. “We’ve done a ton of education on how to clean, when to clean, and why to clean.”

3. Robots
While the campaign took place over a year, Kimber says it was the addition of pulsed xenon ultra-violet robots that drove C. diff rates down to zero.

“What we saw with our use of the UV robots, which we started in October 2017, was that for the last quarter of the year, our C. diff hospital onset cases have been zero,” she says. “I’ve been an infection control nurse for almost 18 years and I’d never seen a drop as dramatically as I had in C. diff after implementation of the UV robots.”

While the robots are not cheap, Kimber estimates that each machine costs about $100,000. Stillwater purchased six robots.

“You always worry about surgical-site infections, and you always worry about those infections that patients get in the hospital such as C. diff, MRSA, CRE, and VRE,” she says. “By national standards one C. diff infection is about $30,000 when you look at morbidity and length of stay. For surgical-site infection, if it’s a hip or a knee, you’re getting into the hundreds of thousands. So, for example, with surgical-site infections if you could just save one surgical-site infection—say a hip or a knee—you’ve already saved $100,000, so your ROI will be pretty quick in knocking your infection rates down.”

Kimber says she encourages infection control practitioners to talk with their colleagues about effective solutions for decreasing infections—whether it’s using education, technology, or something else.

“I recommend people do their own research and find out what’s best for their facility and what their actual needs are,” she says. “Infection control nurses have a pretty tight network, so talk to your colleagues and see what they’re doing in their hospitals. Talk to the ones that are the same size as you and bigger than you and see how you can glean information from that.”

Kimber says, “There were tons of things that went into [reducing hospital onset infections]. Having that rate down to zero for three months has been a huge accomplishment.”

Orignially published in HealthLeaders Media

Webinar: How Vanderbilt University Medical Center Established a Hand Hygiene Program

Presented on: March 22, 2018, 1:00-2:30 p.m. EST
Presented by: Thomas R. Talbot, MD, MPH
Level of Program: Intermediate
Registration:  http://hcmarketplace.com/hand-hygiene-program

HCPro Webcast Icon

Summary: 
Hand hygiene is the top way to prevent the spread of healthcare-associated infections. It has also become a major focus of Joint Commission and CMS surveyors, so hospitals need to ensure their healthcare workers are complying with hand washing guidelines.

During this 90-minute webinar, Thomas R. Talbot, MD, MPH, will explain how he led a successful effort to establish a hand hygiene compliance program at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Dr. Talbot will help attendees overcome barriers to hand hygiene compliance, set up a compliance program in their facility, and create a culture of safety that encourages increased accountability.


Who Should Listen?

  • Infection preventionists
  • Quality improvement personnel
  • Operational quality leaders
  • Safety directors
  • Patient safety professionals
  • Risk managers

Joint Commission plans to make new suicide prevention standards

This December, The Joint Commission (TJC) convened the fourth meeting of a suicide prevention expert panel. The accreditor announced in the March edition of Perspectives that the recommendations they came up with went beyond what’s in the standards. So they intend to convert some of them into new Elements of Performance in National Patient Safety Goal 15.01.01. When they are finished updating the NPSG, it will be sent out for national field review, just like it normally would.

The first and second panels were published in November and centered on inpatient psychiatric units, general acute inpatient settings, and emergency departments. The third panel discussed other behavioral healthcare settings and had its recommendations published in January.

Involving patients and representatives in care decisions

Involving patients in their care isn’t just polite, it’s a CMS requirement. Condition of Participation (CoP) §482.13(b)(2) says that patients have the right to make informed choices about their care and be involved in crafting their care plan. And CoP §482.13(a)(1) requires hospitals to take reasonable steps to decide who the patient’s designated surrogate is when the patient is unable to make the decision.

According to CMS, patients have the right to make informed choices about their care and be involved in crafting their care plan. Diana Topjian, a patient safety coach with Studer Group, says that when talking to patients about their care plan, it must be clear that they understand the risks and benefits of agreeing or declining to the treatment regimen.

“It’s incumbent upon us as providers to ensure we present the plan of care in such a way that the patient (and/or family) understand and clearly can follow the information we used in reaching those decisions,” Topjian says.

“I believe that this is a two-part process,” adds Erin Shipley, RN, MSN, a patient safety coach with Studer Group. “Not only continuing to involve the patient and family as much as possible in the planning around their plan of care and any preferences that they have, but also assessing for any changes to these wishes, and deliberate teach-back with the patient, to ensure that the knowledge and information taught and shared has been retained.  This also helps improve the engagement of the patient to understand any perceived or actual barriers the patient and family has with following the plan developed.”

Editor’s note: you can read more about this in Briefings on Accreditation and Quality. 

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Workplace violence prevention resources

More than 70% of significant WPV injuries occur in healthcare and social service settings. That number has been on the rise, and the victims are primarily healthcare workers. Here are some other free resources and training on workplace violence prevention in your healthcare organization:

1.    The Center for Health Design’s Safety Risk Assessment Toolkit
2.    The CDC’s Workplace Violence Prevention for Nurses  
3.    OSHA’s Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence in Healthcare and Social Services    
4.    OSHA’s Preventing Workplace Violence: A Road Map for Healthcare Facilities
5.   The Emergency Nurses Association’s Workplace Violence Page
6.    ASIS International’s Managing Disruptive Behavior and Workplace Violence in Healthcare