Cooperating for better care.

Jenny Mayfield

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Ebola’s tough lessons for U.S. hospitals


Ebola virus virion


Jenny Mayfield writes in HealthAffairs that the Ebola epidemic has shown that American hospitals as well as stressed West African institutions must give more attention to infection prevention.

In a  December Health Affairs Blog post,  Leonard Mermel, M.D., an epidemiologist and infection-control specialist, noted  his hospital’s {Rhode Island Hospital} work on Ebola preparedness ”significantly strained our ability to manage other infection control challenges.”

”That is a red flag for healthcare policymakers.”

Ms. Mayfield writes:

“When infection prevention programs are under-resourced, infection preventionists are unable to conduct rounds; they’re unable to teach and observe the units to make sure the policies are being followed at the bedside, where good infection prevention practice begins. This is a vital part of their roles and an essential part of patient safety.”
”{I}f the Ebola crisis has illustrated why facility-wide infection prevention programs are critical and require adequately trained, staffed, and resourced infection prevention and control departments, it has also demonstrated that this is the exception, not the rule, in too many U.S. hospitals.”

She discusses the key areas of training, technology and equipment.



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