COVID-19 continues to challenge infection control in all health care settings, driving increased rates of health care-associated infections in facilities across the state and nation. Patient Safety Beat talks with Sharon B. Wright, M.D., M.P.H., Chief Infection Prevention Officer for Beth Israel Lahey Health and President of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, about strategies organizations can use to support, build and expand infection prevention teams on the frontline.
“Massachusetts was already dealing with a shortage of infection prevention professionals when the pandemic shone a spotlight on the problem.” — Dr. Wright

On one level, offering tea and chocolate is a simple gesture of caring that chaplains at Baystate Medical Center have extended to clinicians and staff members since 2018.

But, over the years, this deceptively simple act has become an integral part of a support program that delivers care to the workforce when and where it’s needed. And, with COVID modifications, it has become an important touchpoint in Baystate’s response to stress and burnout at the hospital during the pandemic.

A recent study of patient and family advisory councils at pediatric hospitals shows that most were able to sustain or improve levels of engagement as they adapted to COVID-19 restrictions. Published in the Patient Experience Journal, the study showed that, despite initial skepticism, most PFACs embraced the benefits of online meetings, which offer greater flexibility and broader representation of people in the community. While only 27% of hospitals in the survey included PFAC members on committees charged with pandemic planning and response, those that did demonstrated the benefits of partnership.

Upcoming events
May 16-18
IHI Patient Safety Congress 2022. The Institute for Healthcare Improvement brings together people who are passionate about ensuring safe, equitable care for all. Offered in-person and virtually, this event offers something for everyone, from the hospital and outpatient settings to the home. Register here
May 18
12 - 12:45 p.m.
Disparities in Maternal Health: Connecting Community Advocacy to Clinical Practice. Learn about recommendations from a new Massachusetts commission for redressing racial disparities and promoting equity in maternal health outcomes.Register here
May 25
Survey to inform new peer support network in Massachusetts. The Betsy Lehman Center is designing a new option for health care workers to connect 1:1 via phone or video call when they want support from a trained peer who understands the stresses of the job. Please take this 5-minute survey to help inform these efforts. Take the survey
June 2
9:30 a.m. -
12 p.m.
Part 2 of the 9th Annual Communication, Apology, and Resolution (CARe) Forum. An interactive event including testimonials, case study simulations, and group discussions about best practices for communication and resolution programs. Free and open to all. Register here
Patient Safety Beat is published by the Betsy Lehman Center, a Massachusetts state agency that supports providers, patients and policymakers working together to advance the safety and quality of health care.