March/April 2022 Issue of Becker's Clinical Leadership & Infection Control

March/April 2022 Issue of Becker's Clinical Leadership & Infection Control

ON THE COVER

Why don't hospitals just pay full-time nurses more?
Hospitals' reliance on travel workers is nothing new. The pandemic intensified it and highlighted the gap between full-time workers' pay and lucrative temporary contracts.

10 top patient safety concerns for 2022
Staffing shortages are the top threat to patient safety in 2022, according an annual report on patient safety concerns from ECRI, an organization that conducts independent medical device evaluations, published March 14.

Children's Hospital Colorado's 1st mental health-in-chief on the now or never moment facing the US
Last May, Children's Hospital Colorado declared a state of emergency in pediatric mental health after seeing its emergency department and inpatient units "overrun with kids attempting suicide" and suffering from other mental health conditions. As part of the declaration, the hospital made a commitment that it would address the worsening crisis. One of the major shifts included creating a new leadership role, the mental health-in-chief.

What will make workers want to stay in healthcare? Answers from 22 execs
Healthcare workers have left their roles or profession altogether in droves amid the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why do some people lose smell, taste from COVID-19? 1 explanation
A mechanism has been identified that may explain why some people with COVID-19 lose their sense of smell, according to research published Feb. 1 in Cell.

38 top-rated hospitals hit with Medicare penalties
CMS will trim 764 hospitals' Medicare payments in fiscal year 2022 for having the highest rates of patient injuries and infections. Thirty-eight of those hospitals are simultaneously ranked as the best in the country by CMS, according to Kaiser Health News.

Nurses accuse PeaceHealth of retaliation after raising safety concerns
Nurses who worked at hospitals owned or operated by Vancouver, Wash.-based PeaceHealth are accusing the health system of retaliating against them when they raised concerns about patient and worker safety, NBC News reported Feb. 6.

Don't let the term fool you — 'Endemic' can be dangerous
The word "endemic" is one of the most misused of the pandemic, contributing to a dangerous complacency about COVID-19's potential future toll, Aris Katzourakis, PhD, professor of evolution and genomics at St. Hilda's College Oxford in the U.K., wrote in a Jan. 24 op-ed published in Nature.

10 infection control upgrades needed before next pandemic
The U.S. needs to bolster its infection prevention and control infrastructure to prepare for future pandemics and the rise of healthcare-associated infections, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology said in a March 8 report.

Nurses to Joint Commission: Require safe staffing levels for accreditation
Nurses across the country are calling on The Joint Commission to require "safe staffing ratios" as a condition of accreditation for healthcare facilities, the Chicago Tribune reported March 15.

If 1 in 5 healthcare workers have quit, where have they gone?
A frequently cited statistic is that nearly 1 in 5 healthcare workers have quit their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an October 2021 Morning Consult report.

Healthgrades' 50 top hospitals for 2022
Healthgrades has recognized 250 hospitals nationwide for exceptional care via its America's Best Hospitals awards released Feb. 8.

7 ways to immediately reduce nurse strain
Hospitals and health systems are increasingly partnering with nursing schools or offering academic financial assistance to bolster the nursing pipeline. While an influx of nursing students will eventually help address workforce issues, there will be at least a two-year lag before these investments pay off, and with a growing nursing shortage, hospitals can't afford to wait.

'Cap hospital CEO pay,' travel nurses say
As hospitals and lawmakers urge federal authorities to investigate travel staffing agencies for price-gouging, some travel nurses want the scrutiny redirected toward health systems' C-suites.

INFECTION CONTROL

Sharp drop in patient safety, infection control amid pandemic: 3 new findings
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, metrics tracking healthcare-associated infections and other complications of care indicate significant deterioration of multiple patient safety measures, according to an analysis published Feb. 12 by The New England Journal of Medicine.

Experts call for universal vaccine in anticipation of future variants
Chasing the latest circulating COVID-19 variant with a targeted vaccine isn't a viable pandemic strategy, experts say, instead calling for an Operation Warp Speed approach for the development of a universal vaccine, The Washington Post reported Feb. 15.

Don't let the term fool you — 'Endemic' can be dangerous
The word "endemic" is one of the most misused of the pandemic, contributing to a dangerous complacency about COVID-19's potential future toll, Aris Katzourakis, PhD, professor of evolution and genomics at St. Hilda's College Oxford in the U.K., wrote in a Jan. 24 op-ed published in Nature.

APIC unveils new campaign as HAIs rise, calls for better infection prevention programs
With new metrics indicating rising healthcare-associated infections amid the pandemic, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology is calling on healthcare organizations to assess infection prevention capacity and strengthen prevention programs.

Flu vaccination trends in US: 4 stats to know
The nation's flu vaccination rate has increased slightly over the past two seasons, though this growth has been slower than in past years, likely due to pandemic disruptions, a Feb. 7 report from ValuePenguin found.

PATIENT SAFETY & OUTCOMES

CDC, CMS call for rebuilding health system after patient safety measures drop
As patient safety declines amid the pandemic, the U.S. must rebuild a healthcare delivery system in which safety is embedded in every step of a process, with clear metrics that are aggregated, assessed and acted on, according to an analysis published Feb. 12 by The New England Journal of Medicine.

This unexpected symptom appears to be tied to omicron
With its rapid emergence and wide range of symptoms, omicron appears to be tied to one symptom that wasn't as frequently reported with past coronavirus variants.

3rd person cured of HIV after stem cell transplant, scientists say
A U.S. woman of mixed race has become the third person in the world believed to be cured of HIV, scientists said Feb. 15, according to The New York Times.

Vaccination during pregnancy protects infants after birth, lowers long COVID-19 risk: 2 new findings
Infants born to mothers vaccinated for COVID-19 while pregnant were less likely to be hospitalized for the virus within the first six months of life, a new CDC study found. A separate report found vaccination lowers the risk of becoming a COVID-19 long-hauler.

Lung transplant safe for COVID-19 patients, Northwestern Medicine finds
The first 30 consecutive patients who underwent a lung transplant due to COVID-19 complications at Chicago-based Northwestern Medicine had positive outcomes, according to findings recently published in JAMA.

PATIENT & CAREGIVER EXPERIENCE

Why some don't want to confirm their COVID-19 diagnosis
Some physicians say they're seeing more patients who want to avoid polymerase chain reaction testing for COVID-19 out of fear of the potential disruptions it could cause to their livelihoods, NPR reported Feb. 1.

License wait times reach crisis levels for healthcare workers
Licensing agencies were understaffed and used antiquated workflows pre-pandemic. Now, facing an influx of applicants, the delays are affecting healthcare workers' ability to get to work and patients' access to care, NBC News reports.

Natural light could be key to patient-centered hospital design
A new trend in patient-centered hospital design centers on making spaces more welcoming and comfortable through natural light, Wired reported Jan. 5.

MUSC Health inks digital front door collab to ease patient scheduling, intake
Charleston-based Medical University of South Carolina on Dec. 1 began a partnership with healthcare automation company Notable to improve the digital patient experience.

Mayo urges respect for healthcare workers amid increase in patient hostility
Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse, Wis., which serves Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa, is asking for respect and patience from patients amid an increase in hostility toward healthcare workers, according to the La Crosse Tribune.

QUALITY IMPROVEMENT & MEASUREMENT

Viewpoint: Healthcare needs a 'quintuple aim'
The healthcare industry should expand the "quadruple aim" to include a fifth key focus: advancing health equity, three physician leaders wrote in a Jan. 21 op-ed published in JAMA.

Children's health measures worsening: 4 study findings
The number of children diagnosed with anxiety and depression increased significantly between 2016 and 2020, according to a study examining measures of children's well-being published March 14 in JAMA Pediatrics.

CMS delays star ratings update until July: 4 things to know
CMS is postponing its next Overall Hospital Quality Star Ratings update from April to July to fix a calculation error, the agency said Feb. 11, according to the American Hospital Association.

38 top-rated hospitals hit with Medicare penalties
CMS will trim 764 hospitals' Medicare payments in fiscal year 2022 for having the highest rates of patient injuries and infections. Thirty-eight of those hospitals are simultaneously ranked as the best in the country by CMS, according to Kaiser Health News.

US sees record number of organ transplants in 2021
In 2021, a record-setting number of organ transplants were performed in the U.S., with more than 40,000 transplants performed annually for the first time in the nation's history, according to preliminary data from the United Network for Organ Sharing.

NURSING SPOTLIGHT

Why don't hospitals just pay full-time nurses more?
Hospitals' reliance on travel workers is nothing new. The pandemic intensified it and highlighted the gap between full-time workers' pay and lucrative temporary contracts.

7 ways to immediately reduce nurse strain
Hospitals and health systems are increasingly partnering with nursing schools or offering academic financial assistance to bolster the nursing pipeline. While an influx of nursing students will eventually help address workforce issues, there will be at least a two-year lag before these investments pay off, and with a growing nursing shortage, hospitals can't afford to wait.

Viewpoint: 5 common nurse myths
While the pandemic has brought renewed attention to nurses' critical role in patient care, the field is still "deeply misunderstood," a former research associate at UC San Diego wrote in a Feb. 3 perspective piece for The Washington Post.

International nurses sue staffing agency over quitting penalties, wages
A group of international nurses is suing Health Carousel, a healthcare staffing agency, accusing the company of wage theft and other unfair labor practices, Bloomberg reported Feb. 2.

'Cap hospital CEO pay,' travel nurses say
As hospitals and lawmakers urge federal authorities to investigate travel staffing agencies for price-gouging, some travel nurses want the scrutiny redirected toward health systems' C-suites.

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