While lauding the CDC for its efforts to protect healthcare workers from occupational infections, The Joint Commission (TJC) took the agency to task for draft guidelines that may have the unintended effect of limiting collaboration and creating “silos” in the work culture.
The CDC’s draft guidelines for protecting healthcare workers from occupational infections “may inadvertently reinforce siloing of safety issues, which is increasingly recognized as contradictory to promoting a safety culture,” TJC warned in comments on the document.
“The document could be strengthened, however, by greater emphasis on collaboration with infection prevention and control (IPC) staff and the interrelationship between worker safety and patient safety,” according to TJC comments.
“To strengthen the guideline, CDC might consider adding a new section devoted to the intersection of worker safety and patient safety.”
The section could include infectious diseases, sharps injuries, as well as exposure reporting systems and example tools for communication, risk assessment, and incident analysis, the commission recommended.
Other sections will be added to the CDC guidelines, including one expected to be published for comment this year on specific pathogens that pose occupational threats to workers.
The infrastructure draft acknowledges the massive shift in the delivery of care, emphasizing that occupational health must be extended across the continuum.
“[We] suggest that you add a section for frontline staff,” TJC comments stated.
“Communication and collaboration with frontline healthcare workers, including medical staff and other licensed independent practitioners, are critical for effective interventions.”
The accreditation group also recommended that consideration be given throughout the guideline to add “assessments of competence” in addition to training and education.
“It is well known that training does not always result in proper implementation,” TJC stated.
“Exposures will continue to happen unless expectations related to engineering controls and use of PPE are standardized,” TJC warned.
“It is imperative that healthcare workers follow the same practices to prevent exposure as they move through the continuum of care.”
- CDC. HICPAC: Infection Control in Healthcare Personnel: Infrastructure and Routine Practices for Occupational Infection Prevention and Control Services (Draft Guideline). Oct. 15, 2018. Available at: https://bit.ly/2JsbUPF.