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By Gary Evans, Medical Writer
In draft guidelines open for comment until Dec. 14, 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stresses key measures to protect healthcare workers from infectious diseases.
“Transmission of diseases between personnel and patients is a two-way road that requires safety measures for both,” says David Kuhar, MD, of the CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion.
Kuhar has been the CDC point person on the guidelines, which are under development by the agency’s Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC). The massive shift in the delivery of care over the last two decades requires an emphasis at the onset that employee health programs are critical across the continuum. In addition, two new elements in the CDC infrastructure guidelines are “leadership and management,” and “assessment of reductions of risk for infection” among healthcare workers, he explains.
The current, 1998 guidelines were aimed primarily at the leadership of occupational health programs, but the new draft reaches out to hospital administration as well.
“We have recommendations that are aimed at senior leaders and management that [emphasize] providing administrative support as well as resource allocation,” Kuhar says. “These services can’t be provided unless they are appropriately funded.”
The CDC draft guidelines recommend that healthcare organization leaders:
• Invest in a work culture that prioritizes safety and prevention of occupational infections
• Regularly review occupational infectious risks, exposures, and illnesses with occupational health services.
• Dedicate one or more staff with appropriate authority and training to lead occupational infection prevention.
• Provide sufficient resources, including expertise, funding, staff, supplies, and information technology.
For more on this story see the January 2019 issue of Hospital Employee Health.