Archive for: February, 2013

Fire sparked by unusual mix of hand sanitizer and olive oil

By: February 27th, 2013 Email This Post Print This Post

When was the last time you reviewed your facility’s policies on the proper precautions for using alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR)? An unusual case in Oregon might encourage you to do so. A young girl was injured in a Portland (Ore.) children’s hospital due to an accidental fire caused by ABHR, olive oil and static electricity.

According to the state fire marshal, the patient had undergone an EEG exam and olive oil was used to remove the glue holding the electrodes to the scalp. The patient’s father speculates that the patient put ABHR on her shirt to remove olive oil that had dropped from her hair. When the girl attempted to create static electricity using her bed sheets, a spark ignited the fire.

Although this seems to be a once-in-a-blue-moon kind of case, it’s never a bad idea to review policies about ABHR placement, proper ventilation, and so on, and inform all staff members of potential hazards. ASHE, which reported on the incident, recommends that staff members ensure that ABHRs are used only as intended by patients and visitors.

Certification of infection preventionists could yield better practices

By: February 20th, 2013 Email This Post Print This Post

Hospital infection preventionists (IP) are generally in agreement as to which practices have strong or weak evidence to support their use, with those IPs certified in infection prevention and control perceiving evidence as strong more often than non-certified IPs, according to a study published recently in the American Journal of Infection Control. Researchers of the VA Ann Arbor & University of Michigan Medical School conducted the study as a means of understanding how those who lead infections prevention activities perceive the strength of evidence supporting practices designed to prevent device- and procedure-associated infections. IPs lead programs to protect patients and healthcare workers alike.

Of the 28 practices included in the study, alcohol-based hand rub, aseptic urinary catheter insertion, and semi-recumbent positioning of patients on ventilators were among those practices perceived to have strong evidence to support their use, according to 90% of respondents. Practices identified as having weak evidence included central catheter changes, the use of silver-coated endotracheal tubes for ventilator-associated pneumonia, and the use of antimicrobials in the urinary catheter drainage bag.

According to researchers, the study’s results suggest that certified IPs may lead to greater evidence-based practice, which would in turn lead to a reduction of healthcare-associated infections and hospital costs.

Does your organization encourage certification for infection preventionists? Do you feel that certification is a necessary step for IPs? Share in the comments sections below.

What do OSHA inspectors look for in healthcare settings?

By: February 6th, 2013 Email This Post Print This Post

OSHA inspectors are usually interested in (and legally entitled to) review of:

  • The bloodborne pathogens exposure control plan
  • The hazard communication program/MSDSs
  • Posters and logs (e.g., “It’s the Law” poster and sharps injury logs)
  • Hepatitis B vaccination records
  • OSHA yearly training records
  • General safety records

*This is an excerpt from The OSHA Training Handbook for Healthcare Facilities by Sarah E. Alholm, MAS.

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