New document guides hospitals in responding to infectious disease outbreaks

November 30, 2017, Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America

A new expert guidance document for hospitals to use in preparing for and containing outbreaks was published today by the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, with the support of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The guide was published in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

"This details the role of the healthcare epidemiologist as an expert and leader supporting hospitals in preparing for, stopping, and recovering from infectious diseases crises," said David Banach, MD, co-chair of the writing panel and Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Connecticut and Hospital Epidemiologist at UConn Health. "Armed with the resources to develop and support key activities, healthcare epidemiologists can utilize their skills and expertise in investigation and response to within a hospital's incident command system."

SHEA and CDC collaborated in 2016 to form the Outbreak Response Training Program to guide healthcare epidemiologists in how to maximize their facilities' preparedness and response efforts to combat outbreaks such as Ebola, Zika, pandemic influenza, and other infectious diseases. The new document, Outbreak Response and Incident Management: SHEA Guidance and Resources for Healthcare Epidemiologists in United States Acute-Care Hospitals, leads epidemiologists through how to apply, use, and interact with emergency response structures, groups, and frameworks from the institutional to the federal levels, and provides an overview of essential resources. The principles in the guidance are intended for acute care hospitals, but may apply to other types of healthcare facilities, such as free-standing emergency departments and long-term care facilities.

According to the guidance document, during a crisis the provides medical and technical expertise and leads infection prevention and control efforts, coordinates with institutional stakeholders, and provides input into internal and external communications.

"We will always be faced with new and re-emerging pathogens," said Lynn Johnston, MD, co-chair of the writing panel and professor of medicine and at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada. "This guidance is part of an ongoing effort to develop tools and strategies to prevent and manage contagious diseases to ensure patient and public safety."

The document is part of a partnership between SHEA and CDC to prepare for emerging and re-emerging infections by providing training, educational resources, and expert guidance for dealing with outbreaks in healthcare facilities. The program is designed to train U.S. epidemiologists, who oversee infection control programs, to have the skills, abilities, and tools available to implement practices and provide a leadership voice in responding to infectious threats.

To operationalize the guidance, SHEA will conduct an response workshop in January, develop and post toolkits based on the recommendations, and provide online training modules and webinars.

Explore further: New guidance on contact precautions for hospital visitors

Related Stories

New guidance on contact precautions for hospital visitors

April 10, 2015
Leading infectious diseases experts have released new guidance for healthcare facilities looking to establish precautions for visitors of patients with infectious diseases. The guidance looks to reduce the potential for healthcare ...

Infection control experts outline guidance for animal visitations in hospitals

March 2, 2015
New expert guidance by the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) outlines recommendations for developing policies regarding the use of animals in healthcare facilities, including animal-assisted activities, ...

New tools help nursing homes track and prevent deadly infections

September 18, 2012
The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have each released new tools and information to help track deadly healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) in nursing ...

New pediatric infection prevention guidelines for residential facilities

September 18, 2013
With the evolving changes in the delivery of healthcare to children worldwide, which frequently include long-distance travel and lodging for specialized medical treatments, the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America ...

Recommendations prioritize strategies to prevent ventilator-associated pneumonia

July 16, 2014
Thousands of critically ill patients on life support develop ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) each year. A new document released today by a consortium of professional organizations helps prioritize strategies to prevent ...

Recommended for you

Largest oral HPV study in England shows infection rates lower than expected

August 20, 2018
Infection rates of high risk human papillomavirus (HR-HPV) oral infection in England are lower than expected, compared to previous US studies.

Tibetan sheep highly susceptible to human plague, originates from marmots

August 16, 2018
In the Qinghai-Tibet plateau, one of the region's highest risk areas for human plague, Himalayan marmots are the primary carriers of the infectious bacterium Y. pestis. Y. pestis infection can be transmitted to humans and ...

Autoimmunity plays role in development of COPD, study finds

August 16, 2018
Autoimmunity plays a role in the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to a study led by Georgia State University and Vanderbilt University Medical Center that analyzed human genome information ...

Reliable point-of-care blood test can help prevent toxoplasmosis

August 16, 2018
A recent study, performed in Chicago and Rabat, Morocco, found that a novel finger-prick test for infection with the parasite Toxoplasma gondii during pregnancy—and many other potential applications—is 100 percent sensitive ...

Scientists identify nearly 200 potential tuberculosis drug targets

August 16, 2018
Tuberculosis is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide. Nearly 2 million people die every year from this infectious disease, and an estimated 2 billion people are chronically infected. The only vaccine, developed almost ...

First mouse model to mimic lung disease could speed discovery of more effective treatments

August 16, 2018
The biggest hurdle to finding effective therapies for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) – a life-threatening condition in which the lungs become scarred and breathing is increasingly difficult – has been the inability ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.