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Healthcare facilities are faced with growing numbers of pathogens, many of which are multidrug resistant. A number of these disease-causing agents are airborne, while others are introduced into the environment of facilities by infected or colonized patients, thus endangering other patients and healthcare personnel. Moreover, healthcare workers may pick up pathogenic microorganisms on their hands or clothing while providing care to infected or colonized patients. If they fail to observe recommended preventive measures, these healthcare workers may transfer the pathogens to other patients and even to fellow healthcare workers. Currently, nosocomial, or healthcare-associated, infections are considered to be among the most common complications affecting hospitalized patients. There were an estimated 722,000 HAIs in United States hospitals in 2011, with about 75,000 patients dying as a result of these infections (CDC, 2014b). Clearly, infection prevention and control are critical components not only of patient safety, but also of healthcare personnel safety and well-being. Approaches to prevention and control include identification of causes (a form of sleuthing), familiarity with the means of transmission and spread, and clear knowledge of the most effective and, quite frequently, the most inexpensive ways to combat healthcare-associated infections. Above all, there must be a significant commitment on all levels of health care to ensure and to maintain effective infection control.
This basic-level course, appropriate for any healthcare provider who has direct patient contact, presents a number of topics related to infection prevention and control, including discussion of the means of pathogen transmission, epidemiological patterns of disease, the properties of well-known causes of nosocomial infections, risk factors and groups at risk for nosocomial infections, and recommended measures and practices (both general and specific) for the prevention and control of nosocomial infections both within and outside of healthcare facilities. Because of the potential for bioterrorist attacks involving diseases such as anthrax, botulism (fatal food poisoning), plague, and smallpox, consideration is also given to the nature of these diseases and approaches to their control.
AOTA Content Focus
- Professional Issues: Legal, Legislative, Regulatory, & Reimbursement issues
- Define nosocomial infections.
- List the major types of infections currently accounting for the majority of nosocomial infections and the major sources of infection and transmission, as well as factors and persons at risk for nosocomial infections.
- Recognize the importance of the large intestine as a major reservoir of nosocomial pathogens and the means of transmission of major nosocomial bacterial and fungal pathogens.
- Discuss the general features of nosocomial pathogens and the diseases they cause.
- Recognize the factors involved for establishing reservoirs of nosocomial and related pathogens.
- Apply effective measures for the prevention and/or control of nosocomial pathogens in healthcare facilities.
- Recognize the importance of proper hand washing in the prevention and spread of nosocomial pathogens among patients and healthcare personnel.
- Discuss the terms and products associated with hand hygiene and the indications for hand washing and hand antisepsis.
- Briefly discuss the obstacles to nosocomial infection control.
- Describe the types of vaccines available for disease prevention and how they are used as a major protective measure against nosocomial and related pathogens.
- Briefly discuss approaches to prevention and control of infections in domestic settings.
- Discuss and describe the general properties of, and the prevention and control measures associated with, the four potential bioterrorist threats anthrax, botulism, plague, and smallpox.
George A. Wistreich, PhD, F(AAM), was professor of life sciences and the former Chair of Life Sciences and director of Allied Health Sciences at East Los Angeles College, where he taught for more than 35 years. Earlier, he had served as a lecturer at the University of Southern California Medical School and California State University, Los Angeles. In 1983 and 1989, he received a Distinguished Teaching Award and Outstanding Educator Award from the Chicanos for Creative Medicine and the East Los Angeles Alumni Association, respectively.
Dr. Wistreich received a bachelor’s degree in bacteriology from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), a master’s degree in infectious diseases from the UCLA Medical School, and a doctorate in bacteriology from the University of Southern California. He continued his research studies with the aid of a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellowship. Currently, Dr. Wistreich is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, Linnean Society of London, Royal Society of Health, and the American Institute of Chemists. He has authored and co-authored more than 65 texts, laboratory manuals, study guides, and instructor’s manuals in the areas of anatomy, microbiology, physiology, sexually transmitted diseases, and medical terminology. He has served as Chair of Precollege Education for the American Society of Microbiology for 12 years and is a reviewer for Science Books & Films (SB&F)
- Courses must be completed within one (1) year of the date of purchase.
- You must score 75% or higher on the final exam and complete the course evaluation to pass this course and receive a certificate of completion.
- Through our review processes, Western Schools ensures that the course content is presented in a balanced, unbiased manner and is free from commercial influence. It is Western Schools’ policy not to accept commercial support.
- All persons involved in the planning and development of this course have disclosed no relevant financial relationships or other conflicts of interest related to the course content.
- There are no prerequisites for this course.