DHS/HHS councils encourage health sector vigilance after Belgium attacks

Hospitals are encouraged to review and exercise their security plans following Tuesday’s terrorist attacks in Belgium, according to leaders of the public/private councils that coordinate health care and public health sector preparedness activities for the departments of Homeland Security and Health & Human Services. “Incidents like this give us another opportunity to review our response plans with our employees for situational awareness, maintaining vigilance for behaviors, objects and activities that depart from the norm of their experience, that are out of place for the area, that prompt suspicion, or that otherwise raise safety or security concerns,” the councils state.

CDC recommends PPE to protect against Zika in health care facilities

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released guidance on personal protective equipment (PPE) and other standard precautions to protect against Zika in health care settings and especially in labor and delivery settings. In addition to PPE, standard precautions include proper hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene, safe injection practices and safe handling of potentially contaminated equipment or surfaces in the patient environment.

FDA proposes ban on powdered medical gloves

The Food and Drug Administration is proposing a ban on most powdered gloves in the United States. The administration notes that while the use of powdered gloves is decreasing, its continued presence poses an unreasonable and substantial risk of illness or injury to health care providers, patients and others exposed to them. The proposed ban includes powdered surgeons’ gloves, powdered patient examination gloves and absorbable powder for lubricating surgeons’ gloves.

AAMI initiative aims to train clinicians on medical device safety

The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation is preparing for a national initiative aimed at improving how clinicians are trained to use medical devices. The initiative is sparked by the growing complexity of medical devices and their effects on patient safety.

CDC issues guidance on safe care for Ebola survivors in hospitals

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued interim guidance on best practices when caring for Ebola survivors. In addition to standard precautions that should be used in any health care setting, the CDC urges paying careful attention to Ebola-specific waste management procedures.

AHE introduces new infection prevention and control certification

The Association for the Healthcare Environment has launched a new and intensive 20-hour certificate program called the Certificate of Mastery in Infection Prevention and Control for Environmental Services Professionals. The certification program addresses microbiology and epidemiology; patient and health care worker safety; surveillance, risk assessment and outbreaks; antimicrobial stewardship; evidence-based cleaning practices; and infection prevention during emergencies and construction.

DOE proposes raising boiler efficiency standards

The Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy is proposing amendments to energy conservation standards for commercial packaged boilers to make them more efficient. The department concluded in its research that the proposed standards are “technologically feasible and economically justified.” It will hold a meeting April 21 to receive comments on the proposed revisions.