Archive for: June, 2010

Join the experts for infection prevention guidance on developing a mandatory flu shot policy for healthcare workers

By: June 30th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

If concern about low rates of flu shots among healthcare workers has always been on the front burner, then last year’s H1N1 pandemic and the adoption of mandatory flu shots by some organizations raised matters to the boiling point. Click here and here to read the comments  for yourself.

The current draft CDC guidance for prevention of influenza in healthcare facilities (click here and search for “CDC”)  places healthcare worker vaccination highest in priority saying:

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Are there germs on your sleeves? New lab coat technology could kill infections

By: June 30th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

Lab coats and hospital scrubs have come under scrutiny as more health experts express concern that dangerous pathogens could be hiding on the sleeves of lab coats.

At its annual meeting, the American Medical Association recently announced plans to conduct formal research on “textile transmission of infections,” according to a press release. Some hospitals overseas have already adopted “bare below the elbows” policies that ban ties, lab coats, jewelry, and long sleeves.

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It’s “all-or-none” when it comes to post-op infection prevention measures

By: June 30th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

For the last four years participating hospital have used six post-operative infection prevention measures from the Surgical Care Improvement Project (SCIP), including public reporting on compliance with those measures.

But a study published in the June 23/30 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), concludes that adherence to individual measures are “not associated with a significantly lower probability of infection.”

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Medical Environment Update—Evaluating the possibility of an OSHA infectious diseases standard

By: June 29th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

The feature topic in the July issue of Medical Environment Update looks at how a new infectious diseases standard would affect compliance within medical facilities. The article covers:

  • Regulations versus guidelines
  • Is there really a need for a standard?
  • The impact on clinics, medical, and dental practices
  • Looking back on other approved and rejected standards
  • How visitors to OSHA Healthcare Advisor feel about a proposed standard

Here is an excerpt from that article and a look at what else is covered in the July issue.

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Ask the expert: A hazardous substance list for your practice

By: June 29th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: Must a medical practice create a list of all hazardous substances used in the workplace? It seems as if the MSDS file already covers that information.

A: Yes, the Hazard Communication standard does require the employer to compile a list of hazardous substances in the workplace as part of the written plan:

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Weekly poll: Updated CDC draft guidelines

By: June 28th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

Last week the CDC released the updated draft guidelines on influenza on the Federal Register, which will be available for public comment until July 22.

The CDC focused on vaccination as a primary prevention method. But hidden further down in the guidelines was something many IPs and safety officers were hopeful for. The CDC reversed it’s decision during the 2009-2010 pandemic for airborne precautions instead of droplet precautions. The new guidelines call for healthcare workers to wear surgical masks instead of N95 respirators, except during aerosol generating procedures.

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NIOSH posts Spanish–language guidance for safe lifting in nursing homes

By: June 28th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

NIOSH recently posted the Spanish version of “Safe Lifting and Movement of Nursing Home Residents” to it Web site.

The guide, originally published in English  in 2006, is for nursing home employers, administrators, nurse managers, safety officers, and healthcare workers interested in establishing a safe resident lifting program.

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Watch your fish tanks for waterborne illnesses

By: June 25th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

If you’ve ever seen Finding Nemo, you’ll know that fish tanks can get right nasty very quickly if they are not well-cared for.

That said, there’s not a ton of specific guidance on this regard; even the CDC Guidelines for Environmental Infection Control in Health-Care Facilities uses no stronger dictate than “avoid” when it comes to fish tanks:

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Ask the expert: What does OSHA mean by annual training?

By: June 25th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: What does OSHA mean by annual training—every 12 months or within each calendar year?

A: While the language varies across standards—sometimes saying every 12 months, other times described as at least annually—annual training, as far a s OSHA is concerned always means “at least once every 12 months,” according to a January 24, 2007 OSHA interpretation letter, “Acceptable time lapse for ‘annual’ training.

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Time frame for spiking IV bags

By: June 24th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: Do you have a regulation regarding how long an IV bag should be spiked before using it? I can’t seem to find any info on this. The IV has no added medications.

A: Actually a new download recently added to the Tools page, “Infection prevention requirements in ASCs: A Q&A on CMS compliance, common pitfalls, and best practices,” addresses that topic specifically.

This document references US Pharmacopeia (USP 2008), A General Chapter <797> Pharmaceutical Compounding – Sterile Preparations, which addresses time limits for spiking IV bags.

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Time requirements for keeping lab logs for rapid tests

By: June 24th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: How long do you need to keep on file lab logs for rapid tests that we performed in our office? I am looking for information on lab logs we have for UA, Rapid Strep, etc. We do not do any rapid HIV testing in our practice.

A: I solicited the following answer from my colleague Dan Scungio, MT(ASCP), a lab safety officer from Williamsburg, VA. He provided the following advice:

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CDC releases rough draft of updated influenza guidelines for public comment

By: June 23rd, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

After announcing a review of the 2009 interim flu guidelines, the CDC has released a rough draft of updated guidelines on the Federal Register (search “CDC”), which will be up for public comment until July 22.

“In particular, one major change from the spring and fall of 2009 is the widespread availability of a safe and effective vaccine for the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus,” the updated guidelines read. “Second, the overall risk of hospitalization and death among people infected with this strain, while uncertain in spring and fall of 2009 is now known to be substantially lower than pre-pandemic assumptions. The current circumstances and new information justify an update of the recommendations. This updated guidance continues to emphasize the importance of a comprehensive influenza prevention strategy that can be applied across the entire spectrum of healthcare settings.”

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