CDC launches website on LTC infection control

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently launched a website to help prevent infections in long-term care (LTC) facilities such as nursing homes and skilled nursing and assisted living facilities. "Over 3 million Americans receive care in U.S. nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities each year and nearly 1 million persons reside in assisted living facilities," the website states. "Data about infections in LTCFs are limited, but it has been estimated in the medical literature that 1 million to 3 million serious infections occur every year in these facilities."

Joint Commission clarifies gas requirements

The Joint Commission clarified its medical gas storage requirements in the Jan. 29 edition of its Joint Commission Online newsletter. The newsletter provided advice on segregating and emptying medical gas cylinders as well as on minimizing fire risk. "Improper storage of medical gas cylinders poses a number of hazards to patients and staff," the newsletter stated. "The Joint Commission requires compliance with the NFPA requirements under Environment of Care standards EC.02.06.01, EP 1 and EC.02.03.01, EP 1."

Study finds faucet aerators a potential risk

Significantly higher levels of infectious pathogens were found in water from faucet taps with aerators compared with water from deeper in the plumbing system in a study published in the February issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America. Researchers from the University of Genoa in Italy and collaborating universities studied cold and hot water samples at two tertiary care hospitals for a year from faucets used by health care professionals for hand washing, surgical washing and washing of medical equipment. "Aerators are a potential reservoir for drug-resistant bacteria and a source of infection for patients at risk," said Maria Luisa Cristina, a lead author of the study.

OSHA rolls out site for hospital worker safety

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration recently launched a new educational Web resource to help hospitals prevent worker injuries, assess workplace safety needs, enhance safe patient-handling programs, and implement safety and health management systems. The materials include fact books, self-assessments and best-practice guides. "These new materials can help prevent hospital worker injuries and improve patient safety, while reducing costs," says David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "At the heart of these materials are the lessons from high-performing hospitals that have implemented best practices."