Thursday, October 30, 2014

Research: Hearing Aid Adjustment Helps Residents Enjoy Music More

According to researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder, nursing home residents enjoy music more if their hearing aids are adjusted before it's played.

The researchers found that current hearing aid technology makes it easier to follow conversations, but distorts music. These hearing aids use a technology called wide dynamic range compression, which boosts softer sounds while providing less amplification to loud sounds. This technology isn't ideally suited for listening to music, which commonly uses multiple volume levels during a single song. Instead, a hearing aid that boosts volume across the board is a better fit.

Many modern hearing aids can be adjusted to perform this way (it's actually the way many older models functioned). The key is that clinicians know to make the adjustment before residents listen to music.

To learn more, click here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Today Is World Stroke Day

October 29 is World Stroke Day. Established by the World Stroke Organization in 2006, this day was designed to help spread public awareness of stroke risks and prevalence.

Stroke is the fourth most common cause of death in the U.S. The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association encourage everyone to learn the F.A.S.T. stroke warning signs, which are:
F: Face drooping
A: Arm weakness
S: Speech difficulty
T: Time to call 911

Additional signs of a stroke include sudden trouble seeing, dizziness, confusion, severe headache and weakness on one side of the body.

To learn more about World Stroke Day, click here.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Report: Increase Flu Vaccine Compliance By Requiring Unvaccinated Workers To Wear Masks

According to a new report, making unvaccinated healthcare workers wear face masks is a highly effective way of increasing flu vaccine compliance.

A new rule put into place in New York state during the 2013-'14 flu season required unvaccinated workers to wear masks while flu was deemed prevalent in the state. The rule is being credited with increasing flu vaccine compliance in the state from 60.5 percent to 87 percent, with some facilities reporting 98 percent compliance.

To learn more, click here.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Report: Falls Top Reason for LTC Lawsuits

According to a new report, falls continue to be the number one reason for lawsuits against skilled nursing and other LTC facilities.

The report, which was issued by an insurance company, stated that falls accounted for 41.5 percent of closed professional liability claims against nonprofit skilled facilities between 2012 and 2013. However, this figure was actually down from nearly 44 percent for the time period between 2007 and 2011.

Falls greatly surpassed the second most common reason for lawsuits, pressure ulcers, which represented just 17.5 percent of closed claims.

The most common allegations of reasons for falls were failure to monitor, improper care and unsafe environment.

To learn more, click here.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Canadian Researchers Develop One-Hour Test for Sepsis

A new test developed in Canada could reduce the time needed to diagnose sepsis to just one hour. The current time needed for a sepsis diagnosis is 24 to 48 hours.

The diagnostic test, which would look for a specific gene signature, has not yet been developed, but the technology for it exists. According to the developers, the test could work by a resident providing a blood sample that is then tested through technology including mass spectrometry. If the gene signature is found, it would indicate that sepsis will develop and organ failure will follow.

To learn more, click here.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

CDC Updates PPE Requirements for Ebola Patient Care

The CDC recently updated its guidance on the personal protective equipment, or PPE, to be used by healthcare workers managing patients with the Ebola virus. The agency now recommends the following:

  • An N95 respirator in combination with a surgical hood and full face shield or a PAPR with a full face shield, helmet or headpiece
  • A disposable fluid-resistant or impermeable gown that extends to at least the mid-calf or a coverall without an integrated hood
  • Two pairs of disposable nitrile examination gloves with extended cuffs 
  • Disposable fluid-resistant or impermeable boot covers that extend to at least mid-calf or disposable shoe covers 
  • A disposable fluid-resistant or impermeable apron that covers the torso down to the mid-calf level (this is only necessary when caring for Ebola patients who are vomiting or have diarrhea) 

Additionally, the CDC noted that all healthcare workers involved in caring for Ebola patients must receive repeated training and have demonstrated competence in performing all Ebola-related infection control practices and procedures.

To read the complete guidance, click here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Get Ready for Flu Season 2014

The CDC has released its guidance for the 2014-’15 flu season, which could begin at any time and last until as late as May. The agency recommends that healthcare facilities implement five core infection prevention strategies to halt the spread of flu.

The flu vaccine

The CDC recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months, including all healthcare workers and nursing home residents, receive a flu shot unless contraindicated. This year’s flu shot is designed to protect against the main flu viruses that research suggests will cause most of the season’s illnesses. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for flu antibodies to begin developing and providing protection, so the vaccine should be administered as soon as it is available.

Implement respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette 

Respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette should be observed by all healthcare workers as well as all visitors, both at their arrival and throughout the duration of their visits. The CDC recommends posting visual alerts, such as signs and posters, at the entrance and throughout the facility containing information on how and when to perform these procedures. Supplies such as hand sanitizer, tissues and masks should also be readily available for staff, residents and visitors.

Monitor and manage ill healthcare workers 

Healthcare workers who develop a fever and respiratory symptoms should be instructed not to report to work. If they are already at work, they should stop all resident-care activities, don a facemask and notify their supervisor and infection control contact. The ill worker should not return to work until at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever (without the use of fever-reducing medicines).

Adhere to infection control precautions

When caring for a resident with the flu, all healthcare workers should observe standard precautions, droplet precautions and exercise caution when performing aerosol-generating procedures (such as bronchoscopy, sputum induction, elective intubation and extubation).

Implement environmental and engineering infection control measures

Standard cleaning and disinfection procedures should be performed in all settings within the facility, including resident-care areas in which aerosol-generating procedures are performed. When feasible, consider installing engineering controls that reduce or eliminate exposure, such as curtains that can be drawn between residents in shared areas.

For additional details on the CDC’s recommendations, click here.

ProMed stocks all of the products you need to fight the spread of flu and other infections in your facility, including:

  • Hand hygiene products and dispensers
  • Isolation products 
  • Linen bags designed to handle infectious waste
  • Surface disinfectants 

To learn more about any of these items, contact your ProMed territory manager, give us a call at (800) 648-5190 or visit us online at