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Reducing Hospital Infections

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger
The Truth Network Radio
September 8, 2022 3:30 am

Reducing Hospital Infections

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger

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September 8, 2022 3:30 am

Dr. Betsy McCaughey chairs the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths - and she joined the program to share their work and ways for patients (and their caregivers) to reduce their risk of contracting infections while in the hospital, assisted care, rehab, or other institutional care facilities. 

With Gracie's medical history spanning nearly 40 years and containing more than 80 operations, we've lost track of how many days she (and I) spent in hospitals. But we can count the infections Gracie contracted while inpatient. MRSA, Staph, and so many others added more significant challenges to her already difficult journey - which is why I appreciated Dr. McCaughey coming on the program. 

Visit their website and see more at, and you can also download their free brochure, 15 Steps You Can Take To Reduce Your Risk of Getting a Hospital Infection.


I know pet grooming, but for small business insurance, I need my State Farm agent. They're small business owners too, so they know how to help you best. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there. Call your local State Farm agent for a quote today. Welcome back to Hope for the Caregiver.

This is Peter Rosenberger. This is the program for you as a family caregiver. So glad that you're with us.

If you want to be a part of the program, if you've got comments, you've got things you want to say, we'd love to hear from you. Friends don't let friends caregiver alone. This is hard enough.

Do not try to do it by yourself. Hey, have you ever had to deal with an infection in the hospital? We have. I mean, Gracie's been hurt since the 80s and we've had so many hospital stays and she's had so many infections over the years. Everything. Staff, MRSA, name it. She's had it. I recently learned of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths. RID. RID.

R-I-D. The Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths. The chairman is Dr. Betsy McCoy and she is here with us today to talk about some of the things that we as caregivers can do to protect ourselves and our loved one when we have to go in for hospital stays or long-term care stays or inpatient rehab or all the other things that go on. And, you know, I know Gracie's going to have to face this and I have learned so much from their website and the things that they have available to you that's free that you go out and take a look at it right now. So we're very glad to be able to have Dr. McCoy here. She brings an amazing resume of patient advocate, healthcare policy expert, former lieutenant governor of New York. So Dr. McCoy, thank you so much for joining us today.

Well, I'm so happy to be able to join you and to share with all of our listeners some really vital information. So let's get right to it with an astounding fact. What is the number one predictor of who contracts a hospital infection? It's not their age. It's not the diagnosis that brought them in the hospital to begin with.

No. The number one predictor of which patients contract a hospital infection is what room or beds are placed in. Imagine that. If a patient is assigned to a room or placed in a bed where the previous occupant, even two weeks, three weeks, a month before had an infection, the risk goes way up, way up.

When I say way up, over five times as great. According to the Columbia School of Nursing, the risk goes up 583%, and that applies to a whole range of pathogens like you mentioned before, methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, vancomycin-resistant underococcus, C. diff, the most numerous hospital infection, osteonidobacter, a lot of different infections. The risk is directly tied to who occupied the bed or the room before the patient that's now being placed there. You know, when I've gone into situations like that with Gracie, I mean, to the best of my abilities. I mean, I didn't know all the things.

You've got a whole program to follow and so forth. I didn't know a lot of those things, but I would personally go into the rooms before she got there. She's still in surgery, she's still in recovery, and I would bring my own Lysol wipes, and I would wipe down everything.

Well, Glorox bleach wipes, it doesn't matter what brand it is, bleach wipes are the best. Oh, I did it, and yet, you know, it's still not enough, is it? There's more we can do.

It's not enough, but it is a very important step. In fact, in our 15 steps, which I hope everyone listening will go up on the website and download, 15 steps you can take to reduce your risk of a hospital infection. One of them says, if you're going to visit a loved one in the hospital, forget the candy, forget the flowers, bring a canister of bleach wipes and a pair of gloves. Wiping those surfaces right around the patient's bed could be saving their life.

So you did the right thing. But isn't it astounding that that is the number one predictor, and what does it mean? It says that hospitals are inadequately cleaned. They tell you they're cleaned. In fact, when I've gone in with the bleach wipes and the gloves, the nurse will say, oh, we've already done that, right? And they're sincere, but hospitals are not adequately cleaned.

In fact, this study will really astound you. Two doctors, Dr. Michael Perry and Dr. Philip Carlin, studied 1,100 hospital rooms all the way from Washington, D.C. to Boston. They went to hospitals in D.C., in Trenton, in New York City, Stanford, Connecticut, New Haven, Connecticut, Providence, Rhode Island, all the way up to Boston. Some very prestigious hospitals. And they examined how poorly or how well the hospital rooms were being cleaned when one patient is discharged before the next patient is admitted to that room. And they found that over half the surfaces in the room were left untouched, not touched at all by the cleaners. You know, I've witnessed that because I just had a 10-week stay with Gracie in the hospital earlier this year, and I watched the staff coming in and out.

And, you know, I think there was a sincerity, but there's not a thoroughness and, you know, little things like the phone. What if you drop the TV remote onto the floor? Little things like that that I have watched.

That's right. Once something's dropped, it's presumed to be contaminated, but many hospital workers seem unaware of that. Well, so we've got this study of 1,100 rooms. Over half the surfaces that are supposed to be cleaned are not cleaned. And, in fact, when I looked at the data on which surfaces were cleaned, here's the conclusion I reached.

If you have to eat your lunch in a hospital room, the safest place to put your sandwich is on the toilet seat. They never overlook it. That's the one object that always gets cleaned. But they often miss the call button. They often miss the TV monitor. They often miss the bed rails. And these are surfaces that doctors and nurses and patients constantly touch. As soon as they touch that contaminated surface, their hands are recontaminated.

Well, I've witnessed this up close and personal on more times than I want to remind myself of, and Gracie certainly has, and she has struggled with this. Talk a little bit about, because this is not just for hospitals. This is also for long-term care facilities and other types of facilities.

So talk a little bit about that, too. Well, over the years, one of the things that Reduce Infection Desk does, we monitor and survey and assess all the new research that's coming out in the medical journals. And then we translate it into actionable items that people can understand and do. So, for example, if you go up on our website, we have 15 steps that you can take to reduce your risk of getting an infection in the hospital. And I'm going to go through not all 15, but I'd like to go through some of them with you to give you an idea of how informative and interesting and doable they are. Please do, because I've looked at them, and they're not complex things. So please do, yes, please go through these.

Okay. So if you look at these 15 steps, some of them you take before you get to the hospital, some you do while you're in the hospital, and a few afterwards. But these are steps based on the latest, best medical research, which we take and translate into actionable items that any patient and family can follow. So, for example, number one, if you're going to the hospital, don't shave. Shaving creates nicks in the skin through which bacteria can enter. Shaving is like putting out a welcome mat for bacteria. So don't shave your face, your legs, or anywhere else. You know, the easy way to remember that is nicks are wicks.

So don't shave. That's a great one. Nicks are wicks. That'll wick that infection and that bacteria right into you. So nicks are wicks, so don't shave. That's a great one.

Good. Well, here's another one the hospital will never tell you because it would be an admission of how unclean the hospitals are. But the most prevalent hospital infection is something called Clostidium difficile, and people are often told that antibiotics cause C. diff.

No. You don't get C. diff unless you swallow the C. diff for, which invisibly contaminates virtually every surface in a hospital. It contaminates the surfaces because the surfaces aren't cleaned effectively. So C. diff is on the bed rail. It's on the call button.

It's over the bed table. And here's what you need to do. Before you touch any of your food, before you pick up a sandwich or eat an apple, you must clean your hands off so that you don't have any of those invisible C. diff spores on your hands. Otherwise, when you pick up that food and eat it, you're going to be swallowing those C. diff spores along with your food. And once that C. diff gets into your gastrointestinal system, it causes rampant deadly, I mean deadly diarrhea, destroys your colon, or you can die from so many things related to C. diff. But the key is not to allow that spore to get in your body, and the way it gets in your body is through your mouth. You give it to yourself when your hands aren't clean. So it's very noticeable that hospitals don't tell patients, please clean your hands before you eat.

But in fact, it's essential that you wipe your hands thoroughly before you touch any food, and avoid putting your utensils on any surface except your plate. You know, as caregivers, our loved ones can't always process these things. They're not in a position to do that.

But you can. Yeah, it falls on us to do that. And then make sure our hands are clean as well. I've logged in a lot of time with Gracie over these 36 years in the hospital, and it is frightening how accurate this stuff is, and how, I don't want to say slovenly, but I don't know what's a better word for it, Dr. McCoy? Inadequately cleaned hospitals.

That's a much more diplomatic word. And let me tell you, so many studies show you can beat this problem. Hospitals can clean adequately. We've worked with staff at many, many hospitals.

For example, I'll give you a really vivid one. Rush Medical College in Chicago, the staff there worked with the environmental services people, the cleaners, showing them the surfaces they were overlooking and how to clean better, and they were able to reduce the spread of VRE, vancomycin-resistant enterococcus, which is a nasty bug. They were able to resist the spread of that bug by 66%, just by working with the cleaning staff and training them better. People want to do the right job, but they don't always have the right training to do it. So if the cleaning can be improved, Robert Orenstein out at the Mayo Clinic, he reduced C. diff, the germ I just talked about, 86% simply by wiping the surfaces around the patient's bed once a day with florid fleeced wipes.

Imagine that. Why isn't every hospital doing that? Indeed, indeed. Dr. Betsy McCoy, she is, go to her website,

Look at these 15 steps, download them, memorize them, incorporate them into your life. It will save you and your loved one a world of hurt. Dr. McCoy, thank you so very much for taking the time to be with us today.

You're quite welcome. This is Peter Rosenberger. This is hope for the caregiver. Have you ever struggled to trust God when lousy things happen to you? I'm Gracie Rosenberger. And in 1983, I experienced a horrific car accident leading to 80 surgeries and both legs amputated. I questioned why God allowed something so brutal to happen to me.

But over time, my questions changed and I discovered courage to trust God. That understanding, along with an appreciation for quality prosthetic limbs, led me to establish Standing with Hope. For more than a dozen years, we've been working with the government of Ghana and West Africa, equipping and training local workers to build and maintain quality prosthetic limbs for their own people. On a regular basis, we purchase and ship equipment and supplies.

And with the help of inmates in a Tennessee prison, we also recycle parts from donated limbs. All of this is to point others to Christ, the source of my hope and strength. Please visit to learn more and participate in lifting others up. That's

I'm Gracie, and I am standing with hope. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there. Call your local State Farm agent for a quote today.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-28 09:20:27 / 2023-02-28 09:26:33 / 6

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