Cockroach infestation shuts down cafeteria at California hospital

The cafeteria at St. John’s Health Center – the fabled Santa Monica hospital – was shut down this week after a health inspector found a cockroach infestation in the kitchen, county health officials said.

cockroachAt least 10 live cockroaches were found in the kitchen for the cafeteria, which is located on the second floor of the hospital in the 2100 block of Santa Monica Boulevard, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

Officials at the Westside hospital expect to reopen the cafeteria Saturday, and in the meantime, patients’ visitors are being provided with a list of local restaurants, said Patricia Aidem, a hospital spokeswoman.

“Providence Saint John’s apologizes for the inconvenience to our visitors, physicians and staff and, while it’s difficult to control these natural occurrences, pledges continued diligence in ensuring cleanliness and safety,” the hospital chain said in a statement.

Founded by Roman Catholic nuns in 1942, St. John’s hospital has cared for celebrity patients such as Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Jackson and President Ronald Reagan.

Cost of Salmonella

Hospitalized salmonellosis patients with concurrent chronic conditions may be at increased risk for adverse outcomes, increasing the costs associated with hospitalization. Identifying important modifiable risk factors for this predominantly foodborne illness may assist hospitals, physicians, and public health authorities to improve management of these patients. objectives of this study were to (1) quantify the burden of salmonellosis hospitalizations in the United States, (2) describe hospitalization characteristics among salmonellosis patients with concurrent chronic conditions, and (3) examine the relationships between salmonellosis and comorbidities by four hospital-related outcomes.

A retrospective analysis of salmonellosis discharges was conducted using the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Nationwide Inpatient Sample for 2011. A supplemental trend analysis was performed for the period 2000–2011. Hospitalization characteristics were examined using multivariable regression modeling, with a focus on four outcome measures: in-hospital death, total amount billed by hospitals for services, length of stay, and disease severity.

In 2011, there were 11,032 total salmonellosis diagnoses; 7496 were listed as the primary diagnosis, with 86 deaths (case-fatality rate = 1.2%). Multivariable regression analyses revealed a greater number of chronic conditions (≥4) among salmonellosis patients was associated with higher mean total amount billed by hospitals for services, longer length of stay, and greater disease severity (p ≤ 0.05). From 2000 to 2011, hospital discharges for salmonellosis increased by 27.2%, and the mean total amount billed by hospitals increased nearly threefold: $9,777 (2000) to $29,690 (2011).

Observed increases in hospitalizations indicate the burden of salmonellosis remains substantial in the United States. The positive association between increased number of chronic conditions and the four hospital-related outcomes affirms the need for continual healthcare and public health investments to prevent and control this disease in vulnerable groups.

 Salmonellosis Hospitalizations in the United States: Associated Chronic Conditions, Costs, and Hospital Outcomes, 2011, Trends 2000–2011

Foodborne Pathogens and Disease [ahead of print]

Cummings Patricia L., Kuo Tony, Javanbakht Marjan, Shafir Shira, Wang May, and Sorvillo Frank.

Duh alert: Salmonella outbreak investigation at Australian hospital rules out imported fish (check the egg dishes)

Testing has ruled out imported fish as the source of a Salmonella outbreak at Burnside Hospital in Adelaide, SA Health says.

fish.headsEleven patients have developed gastroenteritis caused by Salmonella since July, one needing re-admission for more treatment.

A statement from the hospital last week said the presence of the bacteria was confirmed at the hospital on September 8 and all recent and current patients had been informed about the issue.

Imported fish was identified as a possible source of the outbreak, but SA Health said testing had now ruled that out.

Cross-contamination from eggs is under investigation as a possible cause of the outbreak, for which the hospital apologized last week.

sprout.salad.aust.aug.15“The hospital has meticulously followed all advice provided by SA Health and the Eastern Health Authority in our efforts to reduce the possibility of others contracting the illness,” it said.

And that advice is not to use pasteurized eggs in dishes for those in a hospital – those immunocompromised – and serve raw alfalfa sprouts (pic from a Brisbane hospital, left).

Some advice: don’t serve raw sprouts and only use pasteurized eggs.

Why are hospital patients the critical control point for doctor handwashing?

People in the hospital are invariably immunocompromised. They shouldn’t be fed things like deli meats that may harbor Listeria.

jon.stewart.handwashing.2002And it shouldn’t be the patient’s responsibility to ask if their doctor or nurse washed their hands.

A February audit shows more than 40 per cent of health-care workers and support staff at hospitals in the Regina area (that’s in Canada) failed to wash their hands properly. 

A follow-up report in June also reveals that 67 per cent of 204 doctors observed didn’t follow regional handwashing rules before patient contact. 

Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region (RQHR) requires all staff to wash their hands with soapy water or alcohol-based gels for a minimum of 20 seconds before and after contact with patients. They’re not allowed to wear excessive jewellery on their hands or wrists and can’t have gel nails. 

Kateri Singer, the woman in charge of infection prevention for RQHR said the region’s goal is 100 per cent compliance with handwashing rules “because it is the single most important thing we can do as health-care workers.” 

CBC’s iTeam has combed through RQHR’s February and June reports and has highlighted some of the least compliant facilities. The following percentages indicate non-compliance rates:

Broadview Union Hospital (February) – 94.8%​

Grenfell Health Centre (June) – 77.4%

Regina Lutheran Home (June) – 77.8%​

Wolseley Memorial Hospital (June) – 66.7%

Regina General Hospital – Day Surgery (February) – 86.7%

Regina General Hospital – Labour and Birth (June) – 94%

Pasqua Hospital – Day Surgery (February) – 100%

Pasqual Hospital – Short Stay (February) – 95.2%

Pasqua Hospital – Operating Room (February) – 68%

Pasqual Hospital – 3A (June) – 97%

Transparency is a key to change

handwashing.junk.apr.13Singer said though these numbers look bad, she’s committed to disclosure because “the public has the right to know” whether or not their doctor or nurse is keeping their hands clean. And she said patients have the right to hold them to account.

RQHR seems to have taken the lead in Saskatchewan when it comes to transparency regarding handwashing practices. Its public reports are far more comprehensive than any other region in the province.

Singer said transparency can be a catalyst to change behavior.

Michael Gardam, director of infection, prevention and control at Toronto’s University Health Network, told CBC Saskatchewan’s Morning Edition host Sheila Coles patients often do not feel they can stand up for themselves.

“I have seen patients get screamed at by health care providers,” Gardam said. “I’ve seen patients be told, ‘Don’t come back to my clinic. How dare you challenge me.'”

Cafeterias in Boston hospitals get failing grades

Boston is home to many of the nation’s best hospitals, but the I-Team discovered some of these institutions may not always be as careful with the food they serve as they are with patient care.

UnknownThe I-Team obtained inspection reports for 12 Boston hospitals and we found several facilities failing on many levels. Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Carney Hospital both failed inspections for not keeping food cold enough. At Dana Farber, inspectors found boiled eggs at 54 degrees, tuna at 53 degrees and chicken at 51 degrees. Carney Hospital also had food items above 50 degrees. According to Boston University nutritionist Joan Salge-Blake, anything higher than 41 degrees is asking for trouble.

Culture change isn’t about training, education and environment

Over the past decade lots of folks have been throwing around the term food safety culture to describe how a business operates. Education, training, equipment, tools, the environment, investment and support from higher-ups all influence how well an organization addresses risk, there’s something else that binds it together.

The culture, or value system, can be difference between having an outbreak or not. The values dictate decisions from the front-line staff to the CEO.

Maybe it’s the hippie in me but it’s sort of like the vibe of the organization that can be gauged by asking does anyone really care?


And if they do, do they know what they should be caring about?

The health care world struggles with the same issues, with similar consequences. According to Yahoo News the Vanderbilt University Hospital dealt with a culture change around infection control. And it’s taken six years to turn things around.

Dr. Gerald Hickson had two primary concerns after his wife’s double-knee replacement operation at Vanderbilt University Hospital in July 2008: making sure she received appropriate pain control and getting her moving as quickly as possible to avoid blood clots. But as he sat with her during her recovery, Hickson made a disturbing discovery. Most of the nurses, doctors and other hospital workers filing in and out of the room to care for his wife, who was at risk of contracting an infection after surgery, were not washing their hands.

A compulsive person by nature, Hickson started counting. He found 92 instances when staff members should have soaped up or used antiseptic foam. The total number of times they actually did? 32. Hickson did not want to humiliate anyone, but he was also fiercely committed to protecting his wife. With polite Southern collegiality, he calmly pointed out the 60 opportunities when staffers could have provided safer care but didn’t. Some staffers were immediately embarrassed. Several wondered if he was kidding, got defensive and offered explanations for their lapses. 

Hickson reported his findings to Dr. Tom Talbot, VUMC’s chief epidemiologist, and Talbot ran with it, spearheading an ambitious clean hands initiative that was launched in July 2009. Since then, hand-washing rates at Vanderbilt have jumped from 58 percent to 97 percent; at the same time, the number of several stubborn infections has dropped, one of them by as much as 80 percent. “We get into bad habits, all of us do, and sometimes we need somebody to remind us to get back on the right pathway,” says Hickson. “That’s the key to transforming health care.”

Talbot orchestrated a number of practical changes right away, including installing additional hand sanitizer dispensers at the entrance and exit of every patient’s room or bay and within easy reach inside. Staffers were instructed to clean their hands before and after every encounter with patients, even if all they planned to do was have a conversation. Even the smallest details were addressed. Clinicians who complained that their skin had become irritated by excess antiseptic gel were told to cut back to a dime-size portion, and moisturizing lotion dispensers were added throughout the hospital.

That was the easy part. Talbot knew that it would take an all-out culture shift to see dramatic improvement. A prior hand-washing program, which focused largely on education and random surveillance, had done little to boost rates. This time, Talbot drilled down on what he believed would be the keys to success: training, communication and shared accountability up and down the staff hierarchy.

Because the hospital’s top leadership would be the ultimate enforcers, Hickson and Talbot knew they needed buy-in before the program was officially launched. The old days of giving high-performing doctors a pass on unprofessional conduct — “Oh, that’s just Dr. So and So, that’s how he is” — would be over. Every hospital worker, no matter his or her rank, would be held to the same high standards. “We had to have support from leadership, so if we had pushback, we would elevate that up and they wouldn’t blink,” says Talbot. “Instead, they would say, ‘That’s not the kind of behavior we expect here.’”

Competition is a big motivator at Vanderbilt, too. Hand-washing scores for individual units and departments are tallied up from highest to lowest, and results are posted every month in break rooms and other staff areas so that everyone can see how his or her team compares with the one down the hall. “You want to look better than other services when that scorecard comes out,” says Johnson. “You don’t want to be at the bottom. That’s just human nature.”

Today, after more than 200,000 hand-washing observations, Vanderbilt’s overall hand-washing compliance rate has almost doubled. At the same time, three major types of infections linked to the insertion of tubes and catheters have been reduced considerably, according to Talbot. Urinary tract infections related to catheters in intensive care units have dropped by 33 percent; pneumonia linked to ventilators by 61 percent; and bloodstream infections associated with central lines — the tubing that delivers fluids and medications to patients — by 80 percent in ICUs.

Culture change is not about mission statements and core values written on a poster. It’s about fostering feelings within the organization from top-to-bottom that this stuff matters.

UK women bruises elbow, goes to hospital, dies from Norovirus

The inquest opens on Thursday (19 June) into the death of a Silverton woman who was in the care of a hospital and placed on the controversial Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP).

norovirus.elderly womanMrs Christine Walker, 86, was admitted to Cheltenham General Hospital on 17 March last year, following a fall.

She had hurt her elbow but, when examined, it was found she only suffered some bruising. However, she was kept in for monitoring.

The next day she was transferred to Kemerton ward, but was not seen by a doctor for three days. When a consultant finally attended her, she was found to be vomiting and suffering from diarrhoea.

She was confirmed as having contracted norovirus in the three days she was left unattended whilst on the ward.

Mrs Walker’s condition continued to deteriorate and her son Nick claims that, on 10 April, he discovered she had been placed on the Liverpool Care Pathway two days previously.

The LCP is a controversial strategy for managing end-of-life care, in which food, water and medicines are gradually withdrawn.

But this approach is only supposed to be used with full consent of the family. The hospital claims they had consulted the family, but Mrs Walker’s son denies the subject had ever arisen.

The family are represented by Oliver Thorne, a medical negligence specialist with Exeter-based lawyers Michelmores.

125 ill with norovirus at Oregon V.A. hospital

Retirement homes and hospitals have a lot of trouble with norovirus. If an ill resident, patient or staff member sheds the virus through vomit or poop in a public area a lot of folks can get sick.

According to KDRV ABC Channel 12, The V.A. hospital in White City Oregon is dealing with its own norovirus outbreak with over 125 veterans and 25 staff ill.vomit

“This is very contact oriented, it’s not airborne, it’s by touch,” said V.A. Infection Preventionist Sue Thurston.

Thurston said about 470 vets live at the V.A, and more than a quarter of them are sick.
Veterans are being asked to not leave their rooms until they feel better and bag meals are dropped off at their rooms.

“We’re wiping down everything you can touch –  all the side rails, all the doorknobs, all the vending  machines, all the rooms, all the surfaces, every single flat surface is being wiped down and disinfected,” said Thurston (I wonder what sanitizer they are using and wiping may just be spreading virus particles around -ben).

Although the virus isn’t respiratory, epidemiological investigations of past outbreaks suggest that virus particles can be aerosolized through vomit events. At IAFP 2013, North Carolina State University graduate student Grace Tung showed a simulated vomit event would yield a spread of droplets 8-12 ft.; the greatest distance traveled in any one experiment was 14.5 ft.

4 dead, 101 sick; Norovirus strikes hospital in Japan

Norovirus continues to ravage Japan after four elderly patients died in an outbreak at a hospital in the western Japanese city of Kyoto.

Earlier, at least 77 contracted Norovirus after consuming bentos from a store, and over 1,000 schoolchildren were stricken after consuming norovirus.elderly womanbread that was probably contaminated by food workers.

The four victims at the hospital were in their 80s and 90s and were among 101 patients and staff members who have exhibited the virus-caused gastroenteritis symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea over the past five weeks at the hospital in Fushimi Ward of the city.

Police to investigate 2012 listeria deaths in NZ hospital

In July 2012, it was publicly revealed that two people had died and two others sickened in a listeria outbreak linked to hospital food in New Zealand.

The two elderly women died after contracting listeria found in cold cuts supplied to the Hawkes Bay Hospital.

imagesNow, police have taken over the investigation.

In May, the Ministry for Primary Industries laid Food Act charges against Napier company Bay Cuisine.

It is understood the company is facing more than 100 charges. It was due to have made its first appearance in Napier District Court today, but this has been adjourned to November.

Listeria was found in pre-packaged ready-to-eat meats that had been supplied to Hawke’s Bay Hospital. Listeria was also found at Bay Cuisine, the sole supplier of pre-packaged meats to the hospital. The company issued a recall notice for affected products.

Robin Hutchinson, whose wife Patricia was one of the women who died, said he was determined that someone be held accountable for her death.

Mrs Hutchinson, a 68-year-old great-grandmother, was admitted to Hawke’s Bay Hospital on May 5 last year with symptoms similar to a stroke. It was later discovered she had contracted listeria. She died on June 5.

For the past year Mr Hutchinson has battled ACC and the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board, which he feels should contribute to his wife’s funeral costs.

He said his wife was not properly informed of risks associated with prescribed immunosuppressants, and that the hospital should not have served her cold meat that presented a risk to people on the medication.