Jacqui’s kingfisher almost brought Jenny to tears

The morning tea was a set-up

Last Wed Jenny (my wife) and I had a “morning tea” birthday celebration with good friends, Jacqui and Andrew Hart, (Jacqui even had a birthday cake for Jenny).

But it was actually a set-up – we needed an excuse to get Jenny to Jacqui’s house so that we could reveal her real birthday present – a magnificent painting of a kingfisher!

Jacqui is a master painter – her paintings (from photos) are exquisite in detail, colours and exactness (https://www.facebook.com/jacqui.hart.754). The Sacred Kingfisher (Kotare in Maori) is Jenny’s favourite bird so, in Jan (pre-covid) I commissioned Jacqui to paint one – for Jenny’s 70th last Sun (July 12th).

Jacqui researched available photos from professionals and purchased the perfect “profile”, then, over the covid lockdown, completed the painting – all in secret to Jenny (that was hard!).

Jenny was overwhelmed! Especially when Jacqui presented her with the beautifully coloured booklet showing all 13 stages of the process!

Jenny’s kingfisher is now happily perched, pride and place, in our home.

Buy-back and ban semi-auto weapons in NZ

$7 per adult would buy back all semi-auto weapons 

Like all in New Zealand, my wife and I are stunned and saddened at the massacre at the Christchurch mosques 4 days ago.

Our hearts go out to the families of the 50 who were killed and the 50 who were wounded. We brought flowers to the Hamilton mosque on Sunday – and there were already thousands of bouquets and notes of support and love. “They are us” was palpable. It moved Jenny to tears.

We think, “This can’t have happened. Not in NZ.”  And it would not have happened if NZ had same gun laws as Australia.

It took the 1996 massacre in Australia for the government to swiftly enforce tougher gun laws. We need do same, swiftly.

The fair-price buy-back cost each Australian taxpayer $15. At 15,000 semi-auto rifles in NZ, we could do same for $7 per adult.

We cannot risk this happening again.

Less GHG with reusables over long-haul

Reusables reduce GHG 65% when long-haul transport is required.

Two Californian colleagues and I had our Lifecycle Carbon Footprint study published today confirming a significant 65% reduction in greenhouse gases when disposable sharps bins were replaced with reusables and long transport distances impacted both systems.

The study was conducted over a two-year period at a large five-hospital system in Loma Linda CA.

An earlier GHG Chicago study found reusables reduced sharps waste stream GHG by 84%. However the study’s sensitivity analysis found transport distances impacted results significantly and suggested the study be repeated in a scenario where transport distances between manufacturer and hospital were large.

In the Loma Linda study, mfg-hospital distances were several thousand km and hospital-plant distances were several hundred km. Under these conditions the study concluded:

  • Such distances lessen GHG differential between the systems
  • Reusable achieved significant GHG reductions
  • Transport & electricity cleanliness are key factors.
  • Lifespan of reusables has minimal effect on carbon footprint.
  • Procurement can significantly contribute to GHG strategies.
  • Reusables reduced GHG with minimal staff behavior-change.

Click here for Loma Linda study

1/2 Day seminar – Preventing Sharps Injuries

I’ve exciting news!

A major player has agreed to sponsor a 6-city Sharps Injury Seminar in US and Canada.

SI have not decreased as expected. The impact of safety engineered devices (SED) has plateaued and HCW are asking what more can they do?

Myself and two other passionate experts are determined to put SI back on the radar with 3 educational outcomes covering:

  1. Incidence and trends
  2. Impact on HCW
  3. Successful prevention strategies

The seminar is CEU accredited and will be held in Philadelphia, Chicago, Orlando, Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto.

Sponsorship has enabled a very low fee. Click here for your city and more details

Shall we do the sick (and non-sick) no Harm!

Survey Finds 4 in 10 Healthcare Professionals Work While Sick

A new study published in Nov 2017 Amer J Infect Control and highlighted by Infection Control Today found 41% of HCW continue to work while experiencing influenza-like symptoms.  

Pharmacists and Physicians had highest % (see below), and Long-term care workers had lowest (29%).

With higher numbers of older patients and immunocompromised patients (and risk to colleagues), the authors ask that healthcare facilities encourage staff to stay home while ill .

Reasons for continuing to work were:

  • Could still perform job
  • Not really “sick enough” to stay home
  • Not really contagious
  • Professional obligation to assist co-workers
  • Difficulty finding replacement

EXPO-STOP 2015 -a small decrease in US Sharps Injuries

Our EXPO-STOP 2015 results, published online in July AJIC, show a small reduction in sharps injuries since 2001

181 hospitals from 34 states contributed data to EXPO-STOP 2015, making it the largest of our 6 EXPO-STOP annual surveys .

Of the 9,343 exposure reported, 71% were sharps injuries (SI) and 29% were mucocutaneous exposures. Of total sharps injuries reported, 38% were during surgical procedures.

The SI rate was 25.2 per 100 occupied beds (OB) however we concluded that “Occupied Beds” is no longer a valid denominator  as it does not include the rising number of patients seen as day cases.

We believe “FTE” is the gold standard as it includes ALL staff no matter how patients are seen – and the 2015 rate was 2.1/100 FTE – significantly less than the 2.7/100 FTE EPINet found in 2001.

But the reduction is not enough. We estimate over 300, 000 US HCW sustain SI annually – that’s 800 every day of the year!

Click here for an ‘Author Copy’ of our paper (if you are an APIC member click here for the AJIC published article ).

And our publication “5 Proven Strategies to Reduce Sharps Injuries” has now been made freely available by AOHP- click here for copy.


AOHP offers “Sharps injury reduction strategies” free to all

The Association for Occupational Health Professionals (AOHP) have offered a valuable high-interest article free of charge .

JAOHP recently published its member-survey which ascertained their strategies to reduce sharps injuries and mucocutaneous blood exposures.

In the EXPO-STOP 2015 survey the “top” low incidence hospitals had SI incident rates 70% below the U.S. national average. The paper outlines their effective strategies.

Click here for the announcement and then click  within to get the free PDF article.

A 7min video on Sharps Injuries in USA

How many sharps injuries occurred to US Healthcare workers in 2015 and how do we prevent them?

At the Association for the Healthcare Environment annual conference in Pittsburg last year, I was asked if I would do a brief video on sharps injuries.

I jumped at the offer (of course)  and spoke on the EXPO-STOP survey that Dr Linda Good and I conduct annually for the Association of Occupational Health Professionals (AOHP).

The 2015 data showed that:

  • Approximately 1,000 HCW sustan a sharps injury DAILY
  • 40% of reported sharps injuries  were from nurses, 35% doctors; and 2-4% were environmental services staff
  • Of EVS staff, the two main causes were (I) handling sharps containers (ii) improper disposal of sharps (left on floor, bed, table, etc)
  • Four prevention strategies were:
    • Helping your institution become more sharps aware
    • Using safety engineered devices more frequently and more correctly
    • Training staff until they are competent in the use of that device/procedure
    • Investigating EVERY sharps injury
  • Thanks to AHE, if you would like to use the video in your training sessions click here.

Sharps Injuries among Australian Healthcare Workers

Sharps Injuries are far too frequent among Australian healthcare workers (HWC)

Accidental sharps injuries (SI) via needles, sutures, etc, all carry a small but real risk of transmitting bloodborne diseases like HepB, HIV, etc., to the injured HCW.

In fact, Tarantola et al state there are 60 infectious diseases that can be transmitted by these injuries.

At the Australasian College of Infection Prevention and Control (ACIPC) 2016 conference, myself, Nicole Vaust and Jane Parker presented the results of a national survey we conducted among ACIPC members (with ACIPC and Ethics approval)

We asked members 9 questions on their institution’s 2014 occurrence of SI and mucocutaneous exposures (blood splashes to face, etc) – 307 hospitals from 6 states participated, making the survey one of largest in Australia – and we were surprised at the results.

Three out of every hundred HCW reported a sharps injury in 2014 (higher than USA rate); 51% of reported SI were nurses and 37% doctors; and 47% of all SI occurred during surgical procedures.

Extrapolating to Australia nationally, this means over 30,000 HCW sustain an SI annually – 80 per day!

Could it be that Australian HCW are not using safety engineered devices often enough? Or correctly?

What is clear is that this issue needs greater attention at state, perhaps federal legislative level – as it has in most developed countries.

click here for our poster

We will shortly submit our manuscript to the ACIPC Journal of Infection, Disease and Health – so watch this space.