Outbreaks on Behavioral Health Units
Outbreaks on Behavioral Health Units
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Patients with mental health issues may be at increased potential for infection and communicable diseases due to impaired judgment, poor medication compliance, substance abuse, homelessness, lack of personal hygiene, and poor nutrition. Those with severe illness may require acute care hospitalization for intensive treatment and stability. This poses a risk of transmission, and the potential for an outbreak, impacting both other patients and health care personnel on the behavioral health unit. Acute care recommendations to curtail an outbreak with traditional interventions such as increased hand hygiene, isolation precautions, and vaccination may be challenging on a milieu, where the patients have complex psychosocial needs and altered sensoriums. This can result with the patient declining healthy, therapeutic infection prevention activities, thus intensifying pathogen transmission. Outbreaks can arise and may not be recognized, resulting with additional cross-infection. Additionally, there may be limited diagnostic and treatment capabilities in some facilities. This presentation will discuss and explore outbreaks in behavioral health settings. The infection pathogenesis, transmission, management, sequela, and preventive strategies will be highlighted. Lessons learned and proactive strategies focusing on evidenced-based interventions to prevent future occurrences will be reviewed. The participant will obtain additional knowledge with bolstering their infection prevention program on their behavioral health units.Learning Objectives:Identify one reason why an outbreak may go undetected in a behavioral health setting State two evidenced based best practices to prevent outbreaks. Describe one intervention to halt an outbreak.
 
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