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As the costs linked to healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) continue to rise, so does awareness among facilities management infection control experts, who connect effective facility design, operations, and management to the ability to control and reduce HAIs.

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"Physical space and how it's used, maintained, and managed is the first line of defence against the spread of infection-causing bacteria at a healthcare facility," states Peter Bulgarelli, Managing Executive Director, JLL Healthcare Solutions. Overlooking facility design could prove costly, as the numbers note:


* The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than 700,000 hospitalized patients each year get an HAI, with 75,000 of those patients dying from their infection.


* Medicare penalized 758 hospitals a total of $364 million in fiscal 2016 for having higher-than-expected infection rates and other patient safety problems.


* Hospitalized patients who get an infection stay an extra 4.7 days in the hospital and increase the cost of their stays by an average of $7,286.



"The CDC reported that the number of annual C. difficile infections reported by hospitals rose 4% in 2014, while the number of surgical site infections rose 2%. Research from The Leapfrog Group released data showing that 25% of surveyed hospitals met the group's standards for central line-associated blood stream infections and catheter-associated urinary tract infections," notes JLL News.


The following may help reduce costs:


* Facility design, which includes the physical materials and placement of medical supplies and equipment within a care setting.


* Facility operations, which include the proper maintenance and cleaning of environmental equipment and medical devices.


* Facility management, which includes the effective oversight of outside contractors and services.



Given the importance of reducing infection and the significant cost savings, it is important for infection specialists and facility managers to work together.-JLL News Release, May 3, 2016



A new hearing aid adjustment program created by Kari Lane, assistant professor at the Sinclair School of Nursing at the University of Missouri, may help increase hearing aid use for those who need assistance. Hearing loss is the third most common chronic illness for older adults. Loss of hearing impacts daily health and safety, especially if untreated. Although hearing aids are the most common treatment for hearing loss, in 2005 more than 325,000 hearing aids less than four years old were unused.


"Being able to hear is very important, especially as we age, and older adults don't wish to be told they're confused," said Lane. "Yet, not being able to understand what is being said, or missing out on conversations, can cause the perception of confusion. This can lead to social isolation and deteriorating relationships."


Lane continues, "Rather than using total immersion or gradual, self-paced adjustment, The Hearing Aid Reintroduction (HEAR) program is a systematic, gradual method to support adjustment to hearing aids. With HEAR intervention, the duration of hearing aid use increases slowly from one hour on day one, to 10 hours on day 30. Unlike total immersion or gradual self-paced strategies, HEAR incorporates pacing that does not overwhelm the patient, uses terminology consistent with his or her reading level, individualizes instruction, and repeats critical information frequently. HEAR is a program that nurses can facilitate in their regular interactions with hearing aid patients."


For the initial trial, Lane tested HEAR on 15 men and women ages 70 to 85. All participants owned, but did not use, functioning hearing aids; participants were willing to give them another try. Before the HEAR intervention, low satisfaction with their hearing aids was reported. After proper adjustments, 87.5% of HEAR participants were satisfied. It may take six to 10 times to get a hearing aid adjusted perfectly.- Accessed 7/13/2016



Smoking is expensive. The cost per U.S. smoker is $1.6 million over a lifetime. With more than 66 million tobacco users, the national cost is $320 billion a year and rising. WalletHub's analysts calculated the cost linked to smoking and secondhand exposure, including the cumulative cost of a daily cigarette pack over decades, healthcare expenditures, income losses, and other costs.


Note these statistics:

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* The out-of-pocket lifetime cost per smoker is $115,214. Smokers in New York will pay two times more than smokers in Missouri.


* The financial opportunity cost per smoker is $1,089,471 over a lifetime. Smokers in New York will pay two times more than smokers in Missouri.


* Each smoker will incur a lifetime average of $220,855 in income loss. Smokers in Mississippi will lose the least, $161,013, which is two times less than in Maryland, the state that will lose the most.


* Each smoker will incur a lifetime average of $164,876 in smoking-related healthcare costs. Smokers in Massachusetts will pay two times more than smokers in Kentucky.



Read the entire report and locate your state's ranking on smoking costs and financial losses at: Press Release, 1/19, 2016



The Center for Health focuses on improving five dimensions of well-being-physical, emotional, spiritual, social, and financial-for clergy and laity of The United Methodist Church (UMC) and their families. Among the Center for Health's offerings are: an interactive website, well-being programs, trends and research, educational opportunities, the UMC Health Ministry Network (UMCHMN), and related resources. Faith Community Nurses will find helpful information and free healthcare education printouts for distribution.-Center for Health Newsletter, Accessed 7/21/2016



A mobile app game to teach people about the warning signs of heart attack is being developed. The avatar-based app, developed in South Australia by animation studio Monkeystack in cooperation with Flinders University School of Nursing and Midwifery nursing professor Robyn Clark, is an innovative gamification of healthcare education. A friendly computerized nurse, Cora, puts fun into health education with the interactive app designed to teach people what to look for and actions to take in the event of a heart attack.


Clarks says, "Retention of information is far greater with an interactive app than with a printed brochure, and by using the app, we hope to improve knowledge, responses, and ultimately save lives. This app paves the way to an exciting future, where we can provide ever more flexible and effective ways to deliver essential education to our patients."


The app is being tested in clinical trials at the Flinders Medical Centre, with a full roll-out planned for 2017.-The LEAD South Australia, Accessed 7/23/16

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"It's far too easy to presume upon God and go on autopilot when it comes to our commitments. We reason that since God first led us to this place, it's okay for us to give away one yes after another, without thinking too much about it. And when we suddenly hit a wall of burnout, we wonder how it happened...."


"Far too often, we continue to say yes after God's grace for the task has lifted. He's moved us on, but for some reason we're still there...."


"Do you feel the winds of change starting to blow? If you sense the Lord urging you to move, and you sense the grace has lifted, you'd best be on your way. We do unnecessary damage to our health and our relationships when we postpone our obedience. Plus, when we stay longer than we should, we fill a slot and take up space where God intends to bring fresh life through someone else."


"Though there are season of rest and seasons to run, God's call never includes cruise control. When we go on autopilot and run from one thing to the next without much thought, we disengage our faith and hearts until we no longer hear God's voice clearly, which makes us dull to the gentle nudges of the Holy Spirit."-From Your Sacred Yes: Trading Life-Draining Obligations for Freedom, Passion, and Joy by Susie Larson, 2015, Bethany House Publishers, Bloomington, MN


-PulseBeats compiled by Cathy Walker