Bring An Equalizer to the Fight. Choose a Firm That Was Created to Advocate for Victims.

Are You at Risk for Infection? CDC Releases New Guidelines for Outpatient Clinics

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued new guidelines aimed at preventing infections in outpatient clinics. According to the CDC, the transition of healthcare delivery from acute care hospitals to outpatient settings, along with ongoing outbreaks of infection, have demonstrated the need for greater understanding and implementation of basic infection prevention guidance.

As noted by the CDC, the safety of outpatient clinics is becoming increasingly important as their role in health care expands. More than three-quarters of all operations in the United States are performed on an outpatient basis. In addition, vulnerable patient populations rely on frequent and intensive use of outpatient care to maintain or improve their health. For example, each year more than one million cancer patients receive outpatient chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or both.

Therefore, it is critical that all of this care be provided under conditions that minimize or eliminate risks of healthcare-associated infections (HAI).

Although patients are treated more frequently in outpatient clinics, infection prevention and surveillance activities do not yet match those of hospital facilities. According to the CDC, it has logged numerous outbreak reports regarding the transmission of bacteria, mycobacteria, viruses, and parasites. In many instances, outbreaks and other adverse events were associated with breakdowns in basic infection prevention procedures (e.g., reuse of syringes leading to transmission of bloodborne viruses).

To address these problems, the new guidelines adopt those now used in most hospitals. The guide includes a checklist meant to prevent infections from injections, poor hygiene, and other causes. Among other recommendations, the CDC suggests that all outpatient practices have at least one individual with specific training in infection control on staff or regularly available.

To ensure that you are not at risk for infection when being treated at an outpatient clinic, experts recommend asking questions regarding the facility’s infection prevention procedures. Specifically, it is important to find out what the clinic’s infection rate is and to ask what measures are taken to prevent infections.