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

Anxious women may want to keep an eye on their bone health

May 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—As if older women didn't already worry enough about their bone health, new research suggests that anxiety may up their risk for fractures.

New strategy to cure chronic hepatitis B infection

May 18, 2018
Scientists from Karolinska Institutet and Hannover Medical School have published two studies that provide insights into how the immune system responds and helps to clear a hepatitis B infection after treatment interruption. ...

Blood type affects severity of diarrhea caused by E. coli

May 17, 2018
A new study shows that a kind of E. coli most associated with "travelers' diarrhea" and children in underdeveloped areas of the world causes more severe disease in people with blood type A.

Resistance to antifungal drugs could lead to disease and global food shortages

May 17, 2018
Growing levels of resistance to antifungal treatments could lead to increased disease outbreaks and affect food security around the world.

Pig immunology comes of age: Killer T cell responses to influenza

May 17, 2018
Researchers from The Pirbright Institute, University of Bristol, Cardiff University and University of Oxford have generated tools that allow scientists to understand a vital area of the pig immune system which was previously ...

How intestinal worms hinder tuberculosis vaccination

May 17, 2018
New research in mice suggests that chronic infection with intestinal worms indirectly reduces the number of cells in lymph nodes near the skin, inhibiting the immune system's response to the Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) ...

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.