AHA Responds to Article on COVID Infections in Hospitals

July 8, 2020

In a blog post, Robyn Begley, DNP, R.N., senior vice president at the American Hospital Association, and chief nursing officer and CEO of the American Organization for Nursing Leadership, responds to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal about COVID-19 infections in hospitals. She points out that the Journal “leaves out many of the aggressive steps hospitals and health systems have successfully put in place to keep patients safe from the virus and treat people who have it.”  Those steps, taken before and during the pandemic, include:

  • Improved treatment of infectious disease and prevention of transmission to others;            
  • Regular training and re-training of caregivers on proper infection control practices;       •  
  • Implementation of an identified set of tools for addressing a global health pandemic – inluding steps to identify, isolate and treat those who were exposed to the virus;            
  • Creation of COVID and non-COVID care units, with social distancing in waiting rooms, mask use in common areas and limited entrance and exit points;       
  • Regular deep-cleaning throughout hospital buildings;      
  • Restrictions on visitors, in alignment with CDC guidance;   
  • Creation of drive-through testing sites and treatment clinics in non-traditional locations; and   
  • Increased use of telemedicine to offer non-COVID patients the care they need – safely, from their own homes.

Begley concludes: “Everyone has a role to play in infection control. That is why everyone is screened before walking through the hospital’s door and caregivers continue to receive regular training. We also need to recognize that today’s hospitals treat the sickest patients and infections can be acquired in many ways unrelated to the care provided by a hospital. Hospitals and health systems will always remain vigilant to the next threat and will continue to take the lead in safeguarding the public against potential threats.”