This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.

Ensuring effective isolation management

The implementation of automated infection surveillance systems can offer a wide variety of benefits for patients and hospital Trusts, argues TOM JORDAN, RN, BS.

An effective isolation management strategy is directly linked to the rapid identification of ‘isolation’ patients and includes timely and efficient cohorting, such as assigning two patients with MRSA to the same room, as well as 24/7 real-time communication of this information throughout the hospital. By closing communication gaps related to isolation patients, hospitals are able to maximise efficiency of inpatient flow. However, the impact of isolation management – including informed decisions regarding cohorting when necessary – is sometimes overlooked when considering effective inpatient throughput. Indeed, the management of this type of patient flow in many hospitals today is, at best, laborious and untimely. Often characterised by avoidable

delays in transferring patients from unit to unit, the classic scene in many hospitals is that of frustrated patients waiting for long periods in the emergency department for an inpatient bed – a bed that might otherwise be available if real-time information could be accessed regarding isolation needs. Quite often, inefficiencies

‘Automation has the potential to be a powerful tool for proactive infection surveillance.’

in managing isolation patients can worsen during ‘off’ hours, when infection prevention staff are not available to assist in the ongoing challenge of managing bed assignments when isolation procedures need to be enacted. It is fair to point out that delays in

cohorting determinations are sometimes unavoidable, due to overall patient census and acuity, as well as staffing levels. However, poor processes in managing isolation patients should not be one of the contributing factors.

Manual tracking limitations Many hospitals currently rely on manual processes that do not support effective real-time management of isolated

patients, which can therefore hamper the ability of the infection preventionist to deploy a proactive approach. This inefficient method impacts patient throughput. It creates a reactive response to isolation management that can result in an inaccurate assessment of bed availability and increase the potential of exposure for room mates of newly- identified infectious patients. Under a manual system, an infection

preventionist’s typical day will start with a paper report of isolated patients and their current status which was generated that morning. The information in this report typically includes room location, diagnosis and the latest information on their condition. One challenge posed is that the original

list becomes increasingly outdated with each passing hour, as patients are admitted, transferred and discharged throughout the day. It becomes a difficult task to remain informed on the real-time hospital-wide isolation requirements at any given point in time. Without real-time alerting, provided by

an electronic surveillance system, facilitation of isolation management results in the time-consuming task of making numerous inquiries via phone or computer. In contrast, with an electronic surveillance system, clinicians are able to visualise the hospital-wide status of isolation patients and strategise accordingly in a concurrent, pro-active manner. Inefficient patient throughput can lead

to potentially frustrated patients, physicians, and staff. It can also directly impact the bottom line in a variety of ways. Consider the following scenario, for example: An infection preventionist arrives at work at 8 am and is immediately informed the facility’s bed status was declared full at 2 am. As a result, the emergency department has been directing the local Emergency Medical System to divert potential patients with non-life threatening needs to a nearby hospital. In today’s fiscal bottom-line healthcare


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60