International Infection Prevention Week (IIPW) ended last week, but that doesn’t mean we can slack off for the next 358 days. Let’s stick with the mission statement developed by APIC: 365 days of commitment, 7 days of focus. In fact, we would like to take a moment to give a shout out to the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) and Eloquest Healthcare Inc. Both of these organizations are making great strides in order to reduce the number of infections contracted by healthcare patients.
Oct 28, 2013 3:00:00 PM
Oct 22, 2013 3:00:00 PM
This week is International Infection Prevention Week and to kick things off we are going to dispel some common myths about Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) and expose the facts. Before we dive into these myths, let’s talk about just how common it is to contract a UTI.
Urinary tract infections are the second most common type of infection in the body, accounting for 8.1 million visits to health providers each year. To put a $ sign on it, a recent study published in Infection Control Today found that ER visits for UTIs contributed to $4 BILLION in unnecessary healthcare costs annually. Dozens of other studies tell us that urinary tract infections are the most common type of hospital-acquired infection and most hospital-acquired UTIs happen after urinary catheterization.
So what causes a UTI? Are women more susceptible them men to contracting a UTI? Does cranberry juice really cure UTIs? I’m sure you’ve heard various answers to these questions. Well, we are here to tell you the facts. But don’t feel bad if you’ve had it wrong, some of this was news to me too!
Myth: UTIs only happen after having sex.
Fact: Sexual intercourse is the number one cause of UTIs. However, it isn’t the only cause. Other causes of UTIs include wiping from back to front, holding in your urine for extended periods of time, and catheters or tubes place in the urethra and bladder.
Myth: UTIs are a sign of bad hygiene.
Fact: You don’t get a UTI from having bad hygiene of sleeping with somebody who doesn’t shower every day. You (and our partner) can be squeaky clean and still contract a UTI.
Myth: Men don’t get UTIs.
Fact: Bacteria do not discriminate between sexes. Although it’s certainly rarer for men to contract a UTI, only 12% of men claim to have had a UTI in their lifetime compared to 50% of women. Women have a much shorter urethra then men, which means that bacteria has a much shorter journey into the bladder, resulting in higher infection rates. However, for men, the likelihood of getting a UTI increases with age.
Myth: Cranberries, cranberry juice, or cranberry products can cure UTIs.
Fact: Cranberry juice contains the active ingredient, cranberry proanthocyanidins or PACs, that helps prevent bacterial growth in the bladder. You can drink cranberry juice to help prevent a bladder infection. But don’t rely on cranberry products as a cure if you have already contracted a UTI. It won’t hurt, but it won’t help significantly more than drinking plenty of water. Only an antibiotic will cure an established UTI.
Myth: Taking a low-dose antibiotic every day is a good way to prevent UTIs.
Fact: Daily antibiotics can be effective but pretty quickly you’ll discover that the bacteria have become resistant to them. Plus, this is a good way to give your body something it doesn’t need. Prevention of UTIs typically doesn’t require antibiotics. The scientific community now knows how to standardize and dose cranberry PACs in dietary supplements at 36mgs of PAC once a day to properly maintain a clean urinary tract. Increasing antibiotic resistance is a chief concern and initiative of both the WHO (World Health Organization) and the CDC (Center for Disease Control). Antibiotics are for treatment, and frequent use can lead to antibiotic resistance. It's better to maintain a clean urinary tract with ellura, lots of water and other simple protections.
Have you heard other myths regarding UTIs that I may have missed or do you have a question? Leave it in the comments section and I will respond or address it in our next blog. As always, thanks for reading!
Apr 24, 2013 1:00:00 AM
I was shocked to see this headline land in my inbox yesterday and I just had to share. We've talked about so-called "never-events" before because one of the most common "never-events" are hospital acquired infections and pressure ulcers.These two never-events are frequently linked to the use of out-dated incontinence management products like adult diapers and medically unnecessary Foley catheters.
To give you a little background, the term "never events" was introduced in 2001 at the National Quality Forum by Dr. Ken Kizer, in response to severe, largely preventable, hospital acquired conditions. The NQF initially defined 27 conditions which were revised and expanded to 28 in 2006.
A 2010 GAO report estimated that 1 in 7 Medicare beneficiaries will experience a "never event" during their hospital stay. These events also lead to the death of almost 15,000 Medicare beneficiaries per month and over 100,000 people each year.
And sadly, improving these numbers has been an uphill battle - leading to the story below.
Surgeons Make Big Mistakes Nearly 80 Times a Week
As every doctor knows, "never-events" are the kind of medical mistakes that should simply not occur. Despite this, and despite hospital and physician risk-management efforts to prevent them, such events occur more often than people believe, according to a recent study by patient safety researchers at John Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. The full study appears in the April issue of the journal Surgery.
The study estimated that "a surgeon in the United States leaves a foreign object such as a sponge or towel inside a patient's body after an operation 39 times a week, performs the wrong procedure on a patient 20 times a week, and operates on the wrong body site 20 times a week."
To identify malpractice judgments and out-of-court settlements, researchers used data from the National Practitioner Data Bank, a federal repository of medical malpractice claims. On the basis of such data, the researchers estimate that 4044 never-events occur in the United States each year.
Surgeons between the ages of 40 and 49 years were responsible for more than one third of the events, whereas surgeons older than 60 years were responsible for 14.4%. Approximately 6 in 10 of the surgeons involved in a never-event were named in more than 1 separate malpractice report, and more than 1 in 10 were involved in at least 1 separate surgical never-event.
Medical centers have put safeguards in place to prevent such mistakes. Among other things, they have instituted mandatory "time-outs" in the operating room, during which the team is supposed to match the surgical plans with the patient on the table; they have required that surgical sites be designated with indelible ink; and they have insisted that surgical team members count such items as sponges and towels before and after surgery.
But critics think more needs to be done, including public reporting of never-events. Such reporting would not only help consumers make informed choices; it would "put hospitals under the gun to make things safer," says Marty Makary, an associate professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins and one of the study's authors.
Apr 18, 2013 4:06:00 PM
Recently, a good friend of ours spent 15 days in the hospital with multiple areas of “severe sepsis” (infections) that had spread from a UTI (urinary tract infection). Our friend spent 9 of those days on a ventilator after surgically removing the most critical of the infections. His situation was truly life-threatening – all from a simple UTI…
No matter how scary hospital stays are for a patient, they can create 4 times the amount of stress for the caregivers. After all, they are the ones still trying to balance the day-to-day living. Plus, they now have the added worry of a loved ones’ health and life, how they’re going to pay for it, who’s going to work to make the money to pay the bills, who’s taking care of the children and feeding the pets, did the stove get turned off… and the list goes on and on. Sound or feel familiar?
Stress comes from three areas in our lives. Physical stress is like sitting or standing for long hours, or incurring injuries to our body. The caregiver and the patient are experiencing that type of stress. Emotional stress comes from our fast-paced life and the overwhelming feelings of despair and fatigue.
Chemical stress is environmental. We may or may not have control over chemical stressors, such as smoking, abuse of over-the-counter drugs, poor diet, and excessive sugars and caffeine. They put our body in an altered chemical state that clearly is not balanced for a healthy person.
Too much of all or part of these stresses can wear you down and make you sick, both physically and mentally.
So, where to start?
First off, control is an illusion. No one can fully control the amount of stress they might feel from any given situation. However, we can do our very best to manage it.
Here are our 7 tips to manage stress.
- The first tip is to accept that there are events that you can’t control.
- Keep a positive attitude and avoid a negative mental avalanche. It’s possible to be objective and positive at the same time. You can be realistic about the situation and still believe that you are resilient and will come out on the other side just fine.
- When you feel stress starting to take over, consciously halt the stress energy. You can do it! When feeling overwhelmed, take a brief walk. And definitely don’t drive aggressively. The last thing you need is a road rage incident…
- As much as drinking a good cocktail might sound, avoid alcohol - same with drugs and smoking. These activities chemically stress your body and lower your immune system
- Take a moment to do something pleasurable. This is one of the hardest tips to follow. Why? Because, we feel guilty. Remember that list in the very beginning; it’s still there in your head. It hasn’t magically disappeared. But if you don’t stop and create some time for yourself and a happy activity, you aren’t giving your body and mind a moment to rest and re-create its’ energy.
- Sleeping is another aspect of slowing the body down to recover from stressful situations. Most Americans are sleep deprived normally. Stress can easily interrupt healthy sleep patterns, so it takes being extra vigilant and making sure you get enough for your body to function.
- Remember to eat healthy. Yes, it’s easy to grab a burger on the way to the hospital. Try and avoid that temptation. Take the time to have good meals. No one needs your immune system going down, and then you can’t be available for others.
And here is a bonus tip for you:
Seek social support. Text your friends. Call them. See them. The concept of “Tend and Mend” is the act of using existing and new friendships to create a venting solution and a balanced approach to any situation. And they say laughter is a great stress reliever!
You can clearly feel and see that stress directly affects your health. So, take care to preserve your own health and well-being and not to compromise it as you are giving care to others!
Now here’s what I do. I take a deep breath and go out and play with the puppy that someone forgot to feed!
Mar 2, 2013 11:05:00 AM
Well, we’re just back from Detroit and let me tell you, brrrrrr. For us Florida types, that was just NOT okay! But snow aside, it was a great trip and we’re thrilled to be able to announce that we are kicking off a new partnership with Eloquest Healthcare®, Inc.!
Eloquest will be promoting our new urinary management device in hospitals all over the US! So our CSO Wendy, and Head of Sales, Courtney, raced to Detroit for an in-depth training with Eloquest’s head honchos and sales gurus.
It was great to get to share some of the oodles of info we have about incontinence with a really compassionate, engaged audience. They really got it!
The gentleman below is Terp, the head of National Sales and as you can see, he looks very pleased with himself after he successfully applied the Men’s Liberty to an anatomical model. Terp was one of about a dozen trainers who learned how to apply the device and how Men’s Liberty can change lives.
So while we won’t be officially launching until July, we’re thrilled to be getting started! And, no kidding, there’s quite the mountain to climb. In 2009, there were an estimated 38 million hospital admissions, of which 25% received indwelling Foley catheters. An estimated 38% of those catheters were NOT medically necessary. So what does that mean in practice? It means that in 2009, roughly 3.6 million people were catheterized in hospitals for NO reason! Patients were put at risk for avoidable infections, endured extended hospital stays and thousands of dollars in added bills accumulated, without any medical justification. Add into that the number of patients utilizing adult diapers, bed pads and condom catheters and the costs just keep rising. Does that sound okay to you?
So that’s the challenge. And we’re looking forward to working with Eloquest to promote discreet, dignified, dependable urinary management in acute care! We’ll keep you all updated as we get closer to that July launch!
Eloquest Healthcare®, Inc. launched as a Ferndale Pharma Group company in February 2008. Eloquest Healthcare provides solutions that drive positive outcomes for patients, caregivers and hospitals while complementing existing treatment protocols. You can find more info here: http://www.eloquesthealthcare.com/
Dec 7, 2012 9:58:00 AM
Here is some great new information out recently from Stephen Jencks, MD, MPH.
Dr Jencks is the lead author of the New England Journal of Medicine study on the cost of readmissions to the American healthcare system. He says hospitals must look beyond the four walls of their facilities to reduce readmissions. That’s great news for us because we talk to WAY TOO MANY guys who ricochet back and forth between hospitals and home health care due to urinary tract infections. Reducing infections and readmission rates go hand in hand!
Speaking recently in Florida, Dr Jencks expanded on his previous work to convince attendees that the best way to cut hospital readmissions was to build relationships within the local community.
“The idea that it is not just that the patient leaves the hospital and goes into the community. It’s that information leaves the hospital and goes to the community, and that information comes back to the hospital from the community. This is feedback. This is how you improve what you do when you send a patient out. And if you are not securing that feedback, it’s going to be really hard to make the discharge more effective and better, yet the truth is that relatively few organizations have a systematic way of getting that feedback from nursing homes, physicians, home-health agencies and hospice.”
“On the other end, the same increasing complexity of information flow is here. You have the patient going back to the emergency service and you have information going with the patient from the home health agency or the skilled nursing facility or from the family. And you have feedback coming from the emergency room to the organization that sent the patient, and that information may come back with the patient. Suddenly, the emergency room is now in an active dialog with the nursing home or the home-health agency or community nursing. This is a partnership. And partnerships with community organizations are emerging out of attention to readmissions. There are conversations going on between nursing homes and hospitals that weren’t going on five years ago.”
The biggest lesson is not to look at readmission as a black and white issue. “Discharges are not something written in stone. In fact, in readmissions, the best way to reduce bad outcomes is to reduce exposure to the risk of bad outcomes,” i.e. reducing exposure to things like indwelling catheters will cut initial infection rates AND readmissions.
For partner organizations, “it’s not enough to put people in the back of the ambulance at 11 o’clock in the evening and shove them to the emergency room with a slip of paper pinned to them that reads, “Please diagnose and treat.”
“Understanding community is not new for hospitals. What is new is the need for partnerships within that community. The community shifts from where people flow in out to a set of partners you actively work with. That’s an enormous challenge for some hospitals. My personal suspicion is the hospitals’ ability to succeed with that challenge is going to be the difference between hospitals that really succeed over the next 10 years and those that find that it’s all too much for them.”
We’re rooting for hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies, patients and families as they make this transition and we look forward to supporting the reduction of urinary tract infections by introducing the healthier alternative, Men’s Liberty.
Have you experienced a catheter-associated UTI recently? Looking for a healthier option that gets you out of the hospital and back out in the world living life to the fullest? See if Men’s Liberty could work for you!
Oct 18, 2012 9:42:00 AM
The idea was sound; the execution was a little shaky.
If you’re anything like me, you have been seeing a lot in the news lately about medical errors and hospital acquired infections and how expensive this problem is becoming. If not, don’t worry, I turn off my TV during election season too!
Fortunately, I get to catch up on the highlights online, without most of the ads. One article caught my eye last week and I wanted to share. It’s a report on a recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. In 2008, there was a lot of hullaballoo when Medicare and Medicaid published a new rule saying that they were no longer going to pay hospitals for treating preventable hospital acquired infections. The goal was to give hospitals and doctors a financial incentive to reduce their infection rates. It made sense to me; draining my bank account has always been a pretty good incentive for me to change my shopping habits!
But perhaps unsurprisingly to the health care professionals out there, this isn’t working out quite like they had planned. A recent analysis from the University of Michigan showed that hospitals are not correctly identifying infections in their coding/billing systems so that they can continue to get paid!
“For all adult hospital stays in Michigan in 2009, eliminating payment for [urinary tract] infections decreased hospital pay for only 25 hospital stays (0.003% of all stays).” This drastically underestimates the number of people who get infections. The CDC estimates that 560,000 catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) occur annually and leads to an estimated 13,000 attributable deaths each year.
When this program was originally announced, Medicare expected savings of $20 million annually and Medicaid estimated a further savings on their side of $35 million over 5 years. The savings was expected to come from reduced reimbursements for ten “never events” including UTIs and pressure ulcers. It is now clear that this is NOT going to happen without a major change within hospital systems.
“The policy was well intended but its financial savings from non-payment for catheter-associated UTIs are negligible because of the data used to implement the policy,” says author Jennifer Meddings, MD, MSc, an assistant professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of General Medicine at U-M Medical School.
But why should this matter to you? There are lots of reasons, but the top three are below:
You or someone you know may be at risk of a UTI right now. Over half a million patients develop a catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) in a U.S. hospital each year.
You’re paying for it. The Government funds Medicare and Medicaid through my and your taxes. We are continuing to pay top dollar for lower quality care.
It’s about to get worse. Effective 2015, Medicare is going to start penalizing hospitals with high infection rates. Sounds like a good idea, right? The problem is that they are using data that we already know is wrong. In effect, this new policy is going to disproportionately penalize hospitals who are declaring their infections correctly and allow hospitals that skirt the system to benefit even more. That hardly sounds fair, does it?
The best thing we can do as consumers is insist that hospitals report their infection rates honestly so that patients can make informed decisions and know what they’re getting for their money! So the next time you’re in the hospital, stay away from the Foley. Ask for alternatives and make your infection concerns known to the doctors and nurses. Demand better!
(And just a little shameless self promotion to the men reading this, there are better urinary management options out there. An indwelling catheter isn’t always the best answer –talk to your doctor about alternatives like Men’s Liberty.)