Hand hygiene issues found at New Jersey rehab center amid adenovirus outbreak

A state investigation revealed several hand hygiene deficiencies at the Wanaque (N.J.) Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, where an ongoing adenovirus outbreak has sickened 26 children and killed nine.

Here are four things to know:

1. The New Jersey Department of Health outlined the infection control issues in an inspection report summarizing a surprise visit to the facility Oct. 21. The health department conducted the inspection 12 days after learning of the first cluster of adenovirus infections among patients at the facility

2. Four of six staff members monitored during the failed to meet appropriate hand hygiene standards, according to the report. In one instance, a nursing assistant removed a patient's soiled diaper before attaching a respiratory tube to the child using the same gloves.

3. In a separate situation, a licensed practice nurse used gloves to handle a nutrition tube that fed directly into a patient's stomach. Shen then removed the gloves and touched a ventilator tube connected to the patient's tracheal opening without washing her hands. The report also said a respiratory therapist at the facility failed to wash her hands in between handling three different patients.

4. The state health department prohibited Wanaque from admitting new patients until the adenovirus outbreak, which started Sept. 26, officially ends. Additionally, the department will keep a staff member from its communicable disease service on-site at the facility until the outbreak is over.

"Every single deficiency we find in these facilities is taken seriously," Dr. Elnahal told the North Jersey Record. "We do ask for a plan of correction and look for those deficiencies on subsequent visits.

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