Posts tagged: infection control

What’s Up Doc: Why are only half of you complying with hospital hand hygiene rules?

“The critical thing that all of us as healthcare providers can do is clean our hands between patient contact: and that is the number one, two, and three action to keep our patient safe,” said Dr. John Embil, Director of Infection Prevention and Control at Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre, in an interview (beginning at the 12:54 mark) at a recent conference on infection control at the HSC.

Patient safety is a live issue because hospital-associated infections (HAIs) are the most common serious complication of hospitalization in Canada, affecting 10% of all patients in acute-care hospitals and are the fourth leading cause of death. And crucially, the contaminated hands of healthcare workers are the most common vehicles of transmission in most settings. In other words, HAIs are preventable.

The solution is literally at our fingertips: just wash your hands. As simple as that seems, the data is telling us that not only is that not happening, it’s also telling us that doctors, of all people – the leaders and role models in the hospital environment – are the biggest offenders.

The hospitals themselves are reporting low hand washing compliance rates of about 65% for nurses and less than 50% for doctors. For example, the Vancouver Island Health Authority reported physician compliance rates as low as 18%.  Yet some people say even those numbers are too high because they are gathered at a time when staff are told they are being monitored. Thus, they argue, the true rate is anywhere between 10 and 30%, with anecdotal evidence suggesting – stunningly – that doctors never wash their hands, outside of surgery.

Physician non-compliance so concerns the medical community that it will be the focus of an upcoming Canadian study that was announced this past February: i.e. why aren’t physicians washing their hands and what can be done about it? In a literature review conduct by the researches in advance of their own investigations they have identified several reasons specific to doctors: namely, physicians reported not ‘remembering to perform hand hygiene;’ ‘high workload or feeling too rushed;’ educational gaps in infection control training among physicians; a perception among physicians that their compliance is much better than it actually is; the development of a more cavalier attitude towards infection control as clinical experience increases, with an associated drop in compliance rates; and the lack of positive role models among physicians who are part of a healthcare team.

Healthcare worker hand hygiene as defined by Dr. Embil above is a hospital Required Organizational Practice, what Accreditation Canada considers an evidence-based best practice that mitigates risk and contributes to improving the quality and safety of health services.

So what’s up doc? If you aren’t getting something  as simple as the hand washing thing right, should patients and their families be asking what else you might not be getting right?

How does Photodisinfection Work?

Photodisinfection is a topical, non-antibiotic antimicrobial therapy that destroys a broad spectrum of pathogens including fungi, bacteria and virus without damaging human tissue. Unlike antibiotics, Photodisinfection selectively kills virulence factors such as the endotoxins and exotoxins produced by pathogens, leading to a clinically observable anti-inflammatory effect. The treatment process takes only minutes, making it over 1,000 times more effective at biofilm killing than antibiotics.

Photodisinfection is a minimally invasive non-thermal therapy involving the light activation of a photosensitizer to eliminate topical infections in a highly targeted approach. Photodisinfection has been proven to be safe and effective in other applications such as for the dental, sinusitis and hospital acquired infection prevention markets. In dentistry, Photodisinfection has been proven to be highly effective for the treatment of caries, endodontics, restorative dentistry, periodontitis, peri-implantitis and halitosis. Many new applications of Photodisinfection are now under development.

The Photodisinfection Process: Instant Antimicrobial Therapy

Apply Photosensitizer to Infection Site & Illuminate with Appropriate Wavelength for Several Minutes

A photosensitizing solution is applied to the treatment site where the photosensitizer molecules preferentially bind to the targeted microbes.  The photosensitizer molecules are inactive at this stage.  A light of a specific wavelength and intensity illuminates the treatment site and a photocatalytic reaction occurs.  The wavelength is carefully chosen to maximize absorption of light energy by the photosensitizer.

This 2 step procedure results in the destruction of the targeted microbes and their virulence factors without damaging host cells.  This reaction involves the formation of short-lived, highly reactive free-radical oxygen species.  These radicals cause a physical disruption of the microbial cell membrane through oxidative reactions, resulting in immediate rupture and destruction of the cell.  This process occurs in seconds with total kills completed in minutes.

The Photodisinfection process has also been shown to eliminate a multitude of virulence factors, unlike antibiotics. When the light isremoved, the photocatalytic reaction ceases along with all antimicrobial action. Photodisinfection does not promote the development of resistance. The Photodisinfection process is both pain-free and stress-free due to lack of side-effects or damage to human tissue.

Source: Eastman Dental Institute, UK

Why New Innovations In Infection Control Are Important To Our Future

Recently, a report from CTV’s medical specialist Avis Favaro and producer Elizabeth St. Philip highlighted our innovative technology being used at Vancouver General Hospital. After a year long project, the use of MRSAid nasal decolonization and chlorhexidine body wipes before surgery demonstrated a significant reduction in the number of patients contracting surgical site infections.

We are counting on public support to encourage early adoption of this important infection prevention technology in our healthcare facilities. Lives and better patient outcomes are at stake as so many of our current antibiotics have become less effective against a growing number of superbugs. Everyone now knows of someone who has died of an infection; this was not the case when I was growing up.

Read more »

Dr. Elizabeth Bryce Awarded Champion For Change Award For Integrating MRSAid into VGH

Left: Carolyn Cross, our CEO and Chairman. Right: Dr. Elizabeth Bryce, Champion For Change

Today is a proud moment for all of us. We’re here to honor a visionary doctor for championing an unheralded change in infection control – Dr. Elizabeth Bryce. Dr. Bryce is the recipient of the inaugural Champion For Change Award for her outstanding leadership in championing the VGH-MRSAid quality improvement project.

“Congratulations to Dr. Bryce on her well deserved recognition. To us, she most certainly is a champion of change and innovation. Her dedicated team at Vancouver General Hospital did a superb job integrating a new protocol into their surgical procedures, trailblazing the path for better patient outcomes.” Carolyn Cross, CEO & Chairman of Ondine Biomedical Inc.

The award, given to her by the Women Presidents’ Organization and GroYourBiz, recognizes global leaders who envision better ways of benefitting their community. “I’m honored to be recognized … I’m even more thrilled about the evidence-based results we are seeing from the use of MRSAid to save lives – and time – and money. Our team’s achievements are a world’s first, an enormous breakthrough for infection control and a huge coup for VGH.”

Watch the video below to see Dr. Bryce and her dedicated team at VGH discuss MRSAid.

Clostridium Difficile Outbreak Kills More than 30 in Ontario

Finally, it now seems that the Ontario hospitals affected by clostridium difficile have gotten the outbreak under control.  Hospitals, especially within the Niagara region, noticed a surge in C. difficile cases since May of this year and many struggled to keep the number of serious infections and resulting deaths down.

C. difficile is a superbug that can secrete high levels of toxin.  It causes symptoms of severe diarrhea and swelling of the colon, which can burst and result in death from septic shock.  C. difficile infections mainly result from eradication of the normal gut flora by antibiotics, and often affect the elderly, patients with weakened immune systems, and patients who have had previous surgery. In many cases, C. difficile spreads in hospitals through contact with fecal matter and can stay hidden in a body without showing symptoms for long periods of time.  Once infected with this superbug, patients are forced to suffer from severe dehydration, diarrhea, organ failure, and blood poisoning. Read more »

The 5 Minute Simulator that Could Save Your Life

The US Department of Health and Human Services has created an interactive training video simulation that lets you participate in life-changing infection control decisions. In a program called Partnering To Heal:Teaming Up Against Healthcare-Associated Infections, the video educates viewers on how to prevent some of the most serious healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), such as surgical site infections, from occurring in hospitals.

There are five character options in the simulation-a doctor, a nurse, an infection preventionist, a family member or a third-year medical student. You are completely in control of each person and every decision that you make will change the patient’s life forever.  The dramatic and sometimes shocking outcomes allow you to peel back the curtain of medical care to better grasp the impact of your decisions and how they can affect your patient’s health.

Read more »

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