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CWRU nurse researcher surveys infection control practices for home patients
Date:6/25/2012

A healthy boy was infected with antibiotic-resistant bacterium that was traced to his mother's nurse's bag left in the family's car after his mother's home healthcare visit to a patient with the same infection. Although the boy's infection and the patient's infection were never DNA tested, the coincidence was remarkable.

This event illustrates how bacteria from someone sick can infect others, said Irena Kenneley, assistant professor of nursing at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University.

She conducted a survey of home healthcare practices related to infection control. Kenneley reports in the April issue of the peer-reviewed journal, Home Healthcare Nurse, that home healthcare workers report that, like the boy, they have acquired infections and that the practices to prevent these infections varies from one agency to another.

Kenneley said information is not available about how often these infections spread from house to house and between patients and families. With a 22-item survey sent or posted online to 3,800 home healthcare providers, Kenneley began to find information about infection control, safety practices and healthcare agency policies.

Kenneley received 423 responses from 44 states (389 were registered nurses between the ages of 51 and 60) about agency policies for: isolating infected patients, leaving necessary equipment like stethoscopes in the home, teaching families about preventive actions, and taking the nurse's bag into the nurse's own home when infections are known to be present in residences visited earlier in the day.

She also asked the home health care providers whether their agencies had a dedicated infection prevention and control nurse. If so, she also asked whether this individual is devoted full-time to prevention or has multiple duties within the agency.

Kenneley noted that individuals also could provide narrative material like the st
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Contact: Susan Griffith
susan.griffith@case.edu
216-368-1004
Case Western Reserve University
Source:Eurekalert

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