Author Archive for: Peggy Luebbert

Antibacterial or antimicrobial?

September 2nd, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: Are we required to have antimicrobial soap in our patient rooms or can we have antibacterial soap?

A: According to the “Guideline for Hand Hygiene in Health-Care Settings,” developed by the CDC there is no requirement for antimicrobial soap in patient rooms. Traditional antibacterial soaps are sufficient in promoting proper hand hygiene.

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Improving seasonal vaccination rates

August 19th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Flu vaccination for healthcare workers is still a few weeks away, but it’s certainly not too early to start thinking up ways to improve your seasonal flu vaccination rates, especially with the added threat of H1N1.

In fact, the CDC has already released guidelines for the 2009-2010 flu season urging people to get the shot as soon as the vaccine is available. In addition to healthcare workers, the CDC recommends annual vaccination for:

Prevent infections by cleaning exam chairs after every patient

August 12th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Recently I received a question from a laser eye surgery practice that stated it was standard procedure in their facility to routinely decontaminate the procedure chair after a patient with HBV or HCV. They wanted to know if they should also be cleaning after patients with hepatitis A.

My answer: Yes, you should. But you should also be decontaminating the chair after every patient under OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogen Standard and CDC’s standard precautions.

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Sterilization expectations from The Joint Commission

July 29th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

There’s been quite a bit of controversy surrounding The Joint Commissions’ recent position on sterilization requirements. In its attempt to solidify some survey standards, it seems The Joint has issued some confusion instead.

Many healthcare workers familiar with the sterilization process question whether The Joint Commission consulted many expert sources, since some of the terminology in the position statement seems dated.

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Thoughts from the APIC conference

June 17th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

For those of you who didn’t make it to the APIC conference last week, or for those who did and didn’t make it to all the sessions they wanted to, here are a few of my own thoughts from last week.

Obviously there was quite a bit of education surrounding pandemic planning and how hospitals and government agencies reacted to the H1N1 outbreaks. Even before the World Health Organization declared an official pandemic, many of us were worried about what the fall might bring.

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In killing common viruses, alcohol-based sanitizers are universal

June 3rd, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Hand hygiene has become a widely discussed and scrutinized topic of discussion concerning infection control. It’s universally known that the two mainstays of hand hygiene are regular hand washing or the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

A question was asked regarding whether there are specific hand sanitizers that fight against specific viruses.

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Where to wear scrubs

May 20th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

For years now, there has been an ongoing debate, fueled mostly by a lack of hard data, about whether or not scrubs should be worn outside the facility’s walls, or even more so, laundered at home instead of on-site.

According to Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) “Recommended Practices for Surgical Attire,” scrubs are worn to “promote high-level cleanliness and hygiene within the practice setting.” Therefore, AORN does not recommend home laundering of surgical attire.

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Infection control considerations for box fans

April 22nd, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Last week fellow blogger Terry Jo Gile brought up some safety precautions to consider when using air conditioners.

But one reader in particular wondered if using box fans would be in violation of safety or IC practices.

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When employees become patients

April 1st, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

At a recent infection prevention training seminar, I came across an interesting question regarding employees who come into their own facility for surgery. This particular infection preventionist said a MRSA screening revealed this person was colonized, and wondered if this information should be part of his or her employee records.

This situation could become more frequent, since it isn’t uncommon for employees to go to their own facility for care. Healthcare workers could be considered “high risk” for MRSA and may be screened by some healthcare facilities on admission or before surgery. Many facilities have begun screening high risk patients for MRSA, and as more begin to do so, a scenario that reveals IC information could make IPs feel obligated to take action.

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Save the dishwasher for the dishes, not disinfecting vaginal specula

March 4th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

It’s not uncommon (I’ve seen/heard of this on a few occasions) for medical facilities, particularly smaller physician offices, to use a dishwasher to clean medical equipment such as a vaginal speculum.

If your first instinct is to cringe, you’ve probably got the right infection control mindset.

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Who shoulders the blame for infections?

February 17th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

In infection control (IC) we often stress to frontline staff, “we don’t prevent infection, but help you prevent infections.”

Yet when outbreaks occur it is the Infection Preventionist (IP) that feels the heat from administration or regulatory agencies looking for answers.

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Hand sanitizer happy hour

February 4th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Have you ever considered that the same stuff you are using to bump up your hand hygiene could lead to an intoxicated staff?

Don’t worry; you won’t have to start giving sobriety tests to your employees. A study published in the American Journal of Infection Control in 2006, found out for certain that alcohol-based hand sanitizers don’t have any effect on your blood-alcohol level.

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