The polling of 240 U.S. hospital managers, physicians and nurses this week uncovers that community hospitals are not adequately staffed, supplied or built to care for the anticipated surge of COVID-19 patients, despite following CDC and public health protocols to identify and evaluate patients who may have contracted the new coronavirus.
Key findings include:
- It is extremely rare to find any American hospital with the physical facilities, such as isolation rooms and available ventilators, to treat multiple COVID-19 patients, considering current patient loads and capacity. When needed, only a handful of hospitals across the entire nation have isolation rooms outside the vicinity of general patient populations to keep uninfected patients and staff well secluded from highly infectious patients.
- Infection and disease transmission between hospital patients are extremely common. Once admitted to a hospital for another condition, over 1.7 million preventable infections occur in U.S. hospitals annually after a patient passes through the emergency department, and 99,000 died from a hospital-acquired infection during their 2018 hospitalizations. One in 24 hospital patients every day is diagnosed with at least one hospital-acquired infection. The threat of highly infectious, deadly diseases, like COVID-19, among health care workers and inpatients is among the top unresolved concerns of most all surveyed emergency physicians and nurses, and infection control technologists.
“U.S. hospitals may not be the ideal place to screen, diagnose, isolate and treat highly infectious patients,” said Doug Brown, President of Black Book Research. “Hospitals are currently failing to control the spread of hospital-acquired infections, such as MRSA and C. difficile, and based on those track records for controlling infectious transmissions, hospitals are likely not capable of managing the radical precautions needed to contain the coronavirus from vulnerable inpatients.”
- Overcrowded emergency departments pose an increased risk to patients, families, visitors and staff with coronavirus presentation. Ninety percent of emergency department nurses polled insist that overcrowding increases the risk transmission for hospital-spread diseases where they work.
- Ninety-nine percent of emergency physicians are convinced their assigned hospital is not adequately supplied or staffed to diagnose a surge of corona patients under current guidelines and testing availability.
- American hospitals regularly face material issues with supplies equipment, prescription and medical provisions out of stock because of tight budgets and decreasing reimbursement. Ninety-four percent of hospital nurses and physicians state that, regularly in the last three months, a needed supply or drug item was not in stock or was unavailable at their hospital for patients presenting with symptoms of an infectious disease.
- Hospitals rarely have a full-time, certified infection control practitioner or epidemiologist on staff. On average, a hospital staffs one full-time equivalent in infection control nursing for every 202 occupied beds.
- Fifty-one percent of hospital managers are concerned with reactionary staff call-offs after an increase admission of coronavirus patients, including trained infectious disease team members.
- Thirty percent of hospital departmental managers state that housekeeping, maintenance, and dietary staff have not received retraining within the past year in handling the disposal of highly infectious patient supplies and/or equipment sterilization.
About Black Book
Black Book Market Research LLC is a healthcare industry surveying and polling firm that provides feedback, opinions and insights into current issues of interest to hospitals, physicians, health insurers, government agencies, manufacturers and vendors, media and healthcare consumers. The largest user opinion poll of its kind in healthcare IT, Black Book collects viewpoints on information technology and outsourced services vendor performance annually also.
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Original Source: Emergency Physicians and Nurses Say American Hospitals Are Not Ready for Pending Surge of COVID-19, Black Book Survey