Council updates active-shooter guide for health facilities

The Healthcare and Public Health Sector Coordinating Council has issued an updated guide to help health care facilities plan for and respond to an active shooter. The new edition of Active Shooter Planning and Response in a Healthcare Setting gives advice on how to survive a shooting even in a health care setting. It includes updated information on providing care in areas where a potential threat exists but is not direct or immediate, law enforcement tactics, unified command and psychological support. The guide, which first launched in 2013, was developed with help from industry experts, such as the American Hospital Association, one of the council’s members.

Study finds flooring may pose risk to infection prevention

Hospital room floors may be an overlooked source of infection, according to a study published in the March 2017 issue of American Journal of Infection Control. Researchers cultured 318 floor sites from 159 patient rooms (two sites per room) in five Cleveland-area hospitals. They also cultured hands (gloved and bare) as well as other high-touch surfaces like clothing, call buttons, medical devices, linens and medical supplies. Because items in the patient’s room may touch the floor, pathogens on hospital floors can rapidly move to the hands and high-touch surfaces throughout a hospital room, the researchers found.

Joint Commission launches compounding facility certification

The Joint Commission has developed a new Medication Compounding Certification program in line with the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention’s General Chapters 797 and 795. The certification focuses on the areas of environment, people and product. Among the issues covered in the environmental section are airflow, buffer areas, guidelines for cleaning and documentation, and storage.

Study tracks how superbugs splash outside of sink drains

A team of researchers from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, who studied pathways bacteria travel from hospital sinks found that a staged mode of transmission involving biofilm growth from the lower pipe to the sink strainer and subsequent splatter to the bowl and surrounding area occurs rather than splatter directly from the water in the lower pipe. The team used a green fluorescent protein expressing E. coli and a lab containing five identical sinks, modeled after the most common intensive care unit sink in the university's hospital. As a result of growth, the bacteria’s proximity resulted in droplets being dispersed to the sink’s surrounding areas, with some traveling as far as 30 inches. The researchers say the study is important to know how bacteria from sink wastewater can affect vulnerable patients and also influence sink design and cleaning to improve infection control efforts.

ASHRM releases workplace violence risk-assessment tool

The American Society for Healthcare Risk Management (ASHRM) has created a series of toolkits to help health care facilities assess workplace violence risks. The toolkits include a checklist to ensure that risk managers are prepared to prevent violence against staff and a separate tool to address violence if it happens. For each item, ASHRM has shared such resources as formal policy examples and best practices. The toolkit addresses staff-to-staff violence/harassment, physician- or third-party professional-to-staff violence/harassment, patient-to-staff violence, visitor/family-to-staff violence and stranger/nonemployee-to-staff violence