Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Article Comments

CDC Launches Program To Prevent Infections In Cancer Patients

As clinicians, we know that the nearly one million patients who receive outpatient cancer treatment each year are at risk for serious infections that may lead to hospitalization, disruptions in chemotherapy schedules, and in some cases, death. Even so, it appears that outpatient oncology facilities may vary greatly in their attention to infection prevention. As one example – at an oncology clinic in Nebraska, it was discovered that syringes were reused to access bags of saline that were shared among multiple patients. This unsafe practice led to the transmission of hepatitis C virus to at least 99 cancer patients, resulting in one of the largest healthcare-associated outbreaks of its kind.

To help address this problem, CDC is launching a new program called Preventing Infections in Cancer Patients, featuring tools to help both clinicians and patients prevent infections.

As a cornerstone of this new initiative, CDC worked with partners to develop a Basic Infection Control and Prevention Plan for Outpatient Oncology Settings, which can be used by outpatient oncology facilities to standardize – and improve – infection prevention practices.

Based on CDC’s evidence-based guidelines as well as relevant guidelines from professional societies, the plan can be used as written or tailored for quick implementation in outpatient oncology facilities. Oncology facilities that already have an infection control plan in place should use this plan to ensure that their policies and procedures include the essential elements.

CDC’s Preventing Infections in Cancer Patients program also focuses on providing information, action steps, and tools for patients, their families, and their healthcare providers to reduce the risk of life-threatening infections during chemotherapy treatment. These resources include an interactive website that helps cancer patients understand their personal risk for developing a condition called neutropenia, a low white blood cell count during chemotherapy. Neutropenia is a common and potentially dangerous side effect of chemotherapy that reduces a patient’s ability to fight infection. Cancer patients and caregivers can answer a few questions about their risk factors and receive information about how to help lower their risk for infection and keep themselves healthy while receiving chemotherapy. The Basic Infection Control and Prevention Plan for Outpatient Oncology Settings and a link to the Web site are available at Preventing Infections in Cancer Patients .

I encourage you to share these new resources with your colleagues so that these vulnerable patients can be given the best chance to benefit from chemotherapy treatment and thrive.

________________________________

You can read Dr. Guh’s bio here.

*This blog post was originally published at Safe Healthcare*


You may also like these posts

Read comments »


Comments are closed.

Return to article »

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

Read more »

How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

Read more »

The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

Read more »

Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

Read more »

See all book reviews »