COVID-19: Accredited Hospitals Responding Efficiently

COVID-19: Accredited Hospitals Responding Efficiently
By Admin | March 6, 2020 | Comments: 8

In the ongoing evolutionary struggle between humans and microorganisms, microorganisms are often poised to take advantage of any change that will give new challenges to Healthcare facilities. Healthcare organization’s readiness to deal with new or re-emerging communicable diseases largely depends on

a) Policies & process

b) Staff awareness and training

c) Resources

d) Oversight

Policies & process: Its common to have policies addressing hand hygiene or basic infection control practices in every healthcare facility, but when it comes to dealing with epidemic disasters or to act during emerging diseases spread, management becomes complex and less likely to be timely in absence of specific policies and process implemented and tested periodically.

JCI standards for Hospital accreditation (PCI.8.2) enforces the hospital to develop, implement, and test an emergency preparedness program to respond to the presentation of global communicable diseases,

Staff awareness and training: With a high turnover of healthcare workers, its challenging for a healthcare facility to sustain essential awareness and required trainings to all category of staff round the year, especially when it includes floating contract Housekeeping staff who plays a major role in keeping the facility clean and disinfected to contain the spread of microbes. We have observed that without an accreditation mandate, new hire orientation is almost not present or not frequent to ensure coverage to every employee that joined in a year.

Here accreditation standards makes a difference in hospitals by stipulating that (JCIA SQE.7) all clinical and nonclinical staff members are oriented to their specific job responsibilities at appointment to the staff, not only staff but also Contract workers, volunteers, and students and trainees are also oriented to patient safety and infection prevention and control.

Resources: Availability of qualified Infection control practitioners is almost near Zero for non-accredited facilities. An assigned staff in most of the places is a part time nurse, who is merely equipped with basic infection prevention practices. In the event of facing real challenges during sudden emerging of communicable diseases, they fail to address the readiness warranted in such situations.

Another common challenge we face in non- accredited facilities is that resource allocation decisions are often made by non- medical professionals alone, namely those working in procurement or finance dept, those who have a non-medical background and tend to cut resources planned for infection control activities by allocating funds not matching to the requirements frequency, quality and turn over.

Number of unvaccinated staff: One more resource related concern is adhering to vaccination for all clinical workforce, Still we don’t understand why so many non -accredited healthcare facilities – more than half in some settings – refuse to provide influenza vaccinations, It's an employee as well as patient safety issue, We can't tolerate influenza occurring for a reason patient being hospitalized. It requires much political will within your organization to get the budget allocated for it annually. Read below how JCI elaborates this requirement in accreditation framework. (SQE.8.2.1) says that the hospital identifies epidemiologically significant infections, as well as staff that are at high risk for exposure to and transmission of infections and implements a staff vaccination and immunization program. And how the hospital evaluates the risks associated with unvaccinated staff and identifies strategies for reducing the patient’s risk of exposure to infectious diseases from unvaccinated staff.

Oversight: Needless to say, when it comes to responding to disasters, nothing plays a more important role than having a coordination and oversight mechanism which brings above mentioned elements together to perform when its needed at the most. An established disaster committee with epidemic training is an essential committee in any accredited hospital.

Conclusion: a robust public health law, international accreditation frameworks, committed leadership and supporting staff in healthcare settings together makes it easy to fight against surprising threats brought in by those alien microorganisms around the globe