Written by Gearhart and Associates, LLC. for STARC Systems, Inc. Gearhart and Associates are industry experts in Infection Control Risk Assessment (ICRA) training, Infection Control and Prevention Strategies, and Facilities Risk Management.
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria known as “superbugs” killed nearly 700,000 people last year, and research shows that antibiotic-resistant superbugs on are on track to kill more people than cancer (10 million) by 2050 while costing healthcare facilities an average of $2 billion per year.
In 2017, new nationwide surveillance discovered hundreds of new antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the CDC’s Antibiotic Resistance Lab. Their findings revealed that they could not be killed by any or most antibiotics, causing illnesses in hospitals, senior care homes, and other healthcare facilities. (CDC)
Studies also revealed that 1 in 10 screenings from patients was positive for resistant bacteria but showed no signs of symptoms. If left undetected, these symptom-free patients run the risk of spreading the rare and hard-to-treat germs throughout healthcare facilities.
Dr. Anne Schuchat, CDC Principal Deputy Director, compares antibiotic resistance to a spreading fire. She explains that germs do more than spread and cause infections, but they share their resistance with other germs, which makes them untreatable. (CDC) Officials said that the new bacteria must be contained quickly to lower the risk of them sharing their antibiotic-resistance genetics with other more dangerous germs.
Healthcare staff should expect and plan for superbugs in their facilities. A line of communication open with health agencies in the event of an outbreak is vital, along with the need for quick identification of superbug cases, internal infection control assessments, and effective containment strategies.
Rapid response and an effective containment strategy is the key to infection prevention and spread of the superbugs between patients, healthcare staff, and the community. When superbugs are detected, being prepared to take aggressive and effective action can keep germs with resistance from spreading.
A proper containment strategy calls for rapid identification of resistance, assessing infection controls in health care facilities, testing patients without symptoms who may carry the germ, and continue infection-control assessments until the germ has stopped spreading. (CDC)
Once infection assessments and screening are put into place, patients who come up positive for resistant bacteria should be rapidly isolated. Monitoring and treatment can commence, with distance now between those infected patients and remaining areas of the healthcare space.
STARC Systems understand that preparedness is one of the most crucial responsibilities for facility administration. There is always a risk, which means there should always be a plan. Not only for the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria but any outbreak that may take place.
STARC provides a cost-effective containment barrier that can be easily stored away until that time when necessity demands a rapid response. A 100’ of the ICRA Class IV wall can be installed in an hour, which results in an effective and quick containment solution.
No one can predict when an outbreak might occur and it’s vital to be prepared, which can greatly determine both the economic and medical impact of a facility.
Don’t be caught off-guard, but instead, be prepared to meet the challenge.