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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently updated their guidelines for prevention of infectious disease in patients and among healthcare workers.

According to the CDC, on any day in the US, one in 31 hospitalized patients across the country has “at least” one infection caused by their hospitalization alone.  As we have discussed earlier, these are called healthcare-associated infections or HAIs.

The news is not reassuring and the rate of HAIs in hospitals is on an upward trend.  Headlines about infections contracted in healthcare settings are common.  Recently, a hospital in Northern Indiana informed 1,000 surgical patients that equipment used in their procedures had not been thoroughly sterilized, potentially exposing them to infectious diseases like HIV or hepatitis.

With an urgent need to prevent the spread of infections throughout facilities, the CDC has updated its 1998 Guidelines on infection control in healthcare settings.

About the New CDC Guidelines

The new guidelines are intended to reduce the risk and spread of infection to patients and employees.  The recently published updates address practices and infrastructure around Occupational Health Services (OHS), among other issues.  Aimed at administrators and leadership, the new document, Infection Control in Healthcare Personnel: Infrastructure and Routine Practices for Occupational Infection Prevention and Control Services, covers eight components of infection control and prevention.  As set out by the CDC, these areas include:

  1. Management and leadership
  2. Collaboration and communication
  3. Assessment and reduction of risks for infection
  4. Medical evaluations
  5. Occupational education and training on infection control and prevention
  6. Immunization programs
  7. Management of potentially infectious exposures and illnesses
  8. Management of health records

These guidelines apply to a broader base of healthcare settings, including long-term care, home-based healthcare, hospitals, and outpatient facilities.   The new directives offer updated strategies and procedures for Infection Control personnel for reducing HAIs in hospitals, as well as providing recommendations for oversight, performance metrics, and topics on resource allocation and administrative support.

The new guidelines were developed following a review of current infection control procedures and recommendations, and an extensive review of peer-reviewed and subject matter articles published between January 2004 and December 2015.

Representing an effort to address the infrastructure of health care delivery, hopefully, the measures will improve safety for patients who need good medical care in hospital settings.

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