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COVID-19 Pandemic Impact on Healthcare Associated Conditions

Last Updated: February 18, 2022
Created By: Sam Watson, AHRQ TEP Member, and Adam Novak

Articles contained in this library reflect the impact of the pandemic on patient harm in the acute care setting.
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Weiner-Lastinger LM, Pattabiraman V, Konnor RY, et al. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2022;43:12-25.
Using data reported to the National Healthcare Safety Network, this study identified significant increases in the incidence of healthcare-associated infections from 2019 to 2020. The authors conclude that these findings suggest a need to return to conventional infection control and prevention practices and prepare for future pandemics.
Silvera GA, Wolf JA, Stanowski A, et al. Patient Exp J. 2021;8:30-39.
Research has found that families and caregivers play a key role in identifying and preventing patient safety events.  Based on a national sample of hospitals, this study explored the impact of hospital visitation restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic on patient experience and safety outcomes. Results indicate that hospitals with closed visitations experienced larger performance deficits across measures of medical staff responsiveness, fall rates, and sepsis rates.
Polancich S, Hall AG, Miltner RS, et al. J Healthc Qual. 2021;43:137-144.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many aspects of health care delivery, including how hospitals prevent common hospital-acquired conditions such as pressure injuries. Based on retrospective data, the authors of this study did not identify a longitudinal increase in hospital-acquired pressure injuries between March and July 2020. The authors discuss how prior organizational efforts to reduce hospital-acquired pressure injuries allowed their hospital to quickly adapt existing workflows and processes to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lombardo FL, Salvi E, Lacorte E, et al. Front Psychiatry. 2020;11:578465.
Long-term care and skilled nursing facilities are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 infection; this increased risk may present other threats to patient safety. This survey of nursing homes in Italy found that one third of facilities reported at least one adverse event during the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic. Adverse events were more likely to occur in nursing homes with higher bed capacities, increased use of psychiatric drugs, and use of physical restraints. These findings can inform nursing homes creating mitigation plans.
Williams R, Jenkins DA, Ashcroft DM, et al. The Lancet Pub Health. 2020;5:e543-e550.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to patients delaying or forgoing necessary health care, which can contribute to diagnostic and treatment delays.  This retrospective cohort study used primary care data to investigate the indirect effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on primary care health care use and subsequent diagnoses among residents in a poor, urban area in the United Kingdom. Between March and May 2020, there was a 50% reduction in expected diagnoses for mental health conditions, as well as substantial decreases in diagnoses and associated medication prescriptions for circulatory system diseases and type 2 diabetes.  
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