Online Program

Nosocosmial infections and preventive health care practices

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Verteena Phillips, BS, MPH (c), Health Education and Behavioral Sciences, UMDNJ-School of Public Health, Piscataway, NJ
Derek G. Shendell, DEnv, MPH, Environmental & Occupational Health and CSCBRE, UMDNJ-School of Public Health, Piscataway, NJ
Background: Nosocomial infections (NI) are common, ongoing concerns in health care facilities, occurring within 48 hours after admission, three days after discharge or 30 days after a surgical procedure. NIs pose constant threats to patients with compromised immune systems who must remain in health care settings for prolonged periods. Air purification and filtration methods (natural and mechanical), heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) system maintenance, waste disposal and hygiene practices of health care workers have been a main foci of investigations into reasons for the spread of NIs. According to ASHRAE standards, air exchange rates within health care microenvironments should be ≥6 exchanges of air per hour. This standard is same in most hospitals, yet NIs remain an issue in public health. Methods: A comprehensive literature review was conducted of research papers published 1995-2010 pertaining to preventive health care and exposure prevention/mitigation techniques. A search was conducted through multiple journal databases to compare relative research literature concerning practices and the affects of these practices on the spread of NIs. We will present findings of our literature review and make recommendations for health educators working in health care settings. Conclusion: Existing research concerning conditioning and purifying the air solely through mechanical methods is still fairly inconclusive. Other practices, like opening windows and/or doors when possible, and hygienic practices of health care workers potentially decrease NI transmission. Waste disposal techniques varied slightly, but, in hospitals studied, those facilities which incinerated waste had more particulates in the surrounding environment than those that do not.

Learning Areas:

Clinical medicine applied in public health
Environmental health sciences
Occupational health and safety
Other professions or practice related to public health
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control

Learning Objectives:
Identify the organisms that are prevalent in common nosocomial (health care acquired) infections (NI) and the reported environmental causes of these infections; Describe the most common hygienic techniques and devices for air heating, ventilating and cooling systems (HVAC) plus filtration used in health care settings to prevent the spread of NI; and, Describe available options and suggestions to improve existing methods of exposure prevention/mitigation through health education.

Keyword(s): Hospitals, Occupational Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I try to “bridge” science, education and policy in multidisciplinary fashion to reduce and/or prevent environmental exposures and health effects via community/schools-based research with local participation; educational trainings and materials, service and technical assistance. Research and professional publications include: • incident (injury, illness) surveillance among minors/young workers, including among special health care needs students; • indoor air and environmental quality in homes, offices and schools; • ventilation and energy efficiency, and linkages to student attendance.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.