Is your facility doing a good job of combating antibiotic resistance? Here is what the CDC recommends you do to be a part of the solution.
Clearly define roles and responsibilities for the Medical Director and Director of Nursing.
Write policies and procedures for the use of antibiotics.
Review antibiotic use and resistance data during quality assurance meetings.
Identify a lead for antibiotic stewardship activities. This could be the Medical Director, Director or Assistant Director of Nursing, or a pharmacist.
Maintain access to someone with antibiotic stewardship expertise. Options include a pharmacist who is experienced in the use of antibiotics, the antibiotic stewardship team at a referral hospital, or an expert in infectious diseases.
Tracking and Monitoring
Develop a report summarizing antibiotic use.
Monitor rates of C. difficile infection.
Monitor rates of antibiotic resistant organisms.
Monitor adverse events related to antibiotic use.
Actions To Improve Use
Document dose, duration, and indication for all antibiotic Rx.
Develop an algorithm for diagnosis and treatment of infections.
Periodically review agents listed on the formulary.
Review antibiotic use history when transferring in patients from another facility.
Measure antibiotic use and outcomes.
Personalize provider feedback on antibiotic use.
Provide educational resources and materials about antibiotic resistance to clinical providers and nursing staff.
When the pandemic hit, many cities and organizations struggled to implement COVID-19 testing while Premier Lab Solutions was perfectly poised to enter the COVID-19 testing industry. While other labs were working to implement testing procedures and safety protocols, Premier Lab Solutions was securing its initial contracts with major municipalities, counties, and government agencies including The City of Phoenix, State of Arizona, and Maricopa County. Being one of the forerunners of the pandemic, Premier Lab Solutions has set the industry standard for COVID-19 testing in Arizona. The pandemic is an ongoing crisis, so finding a top-tier laboratory to handle COVID-19 testing is important to patients, businesses, and the community as a whole.
Here are ways that Premier Lab Solutions stands apart from the rest:
Quick and Easy Testing – Patients can visit one of several valley wide locations via appointment or walk-up for a quick and easy COVID-19 test, with results provided the next day. A HIPAA compliant self-service portal allows patients to receive and print results, as well as keep track of testing history. Phone lines are open 7 days a week where a live customer service representative can answer questions or concerns.
Accurate Results – Tests are always Real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) and with High Efficiency Antigen Testing (the gold-standard for detection) for the most accurate results available. Customers can be confident the results they receive are as correct as possible. Tests can be run and are effective for both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients.
Ruling Out What Ails You – Often times COVID-19 and the Flu appear very similar and it can be hard to discern which is which. New testing methods allow patients to test for Flu A + Flu B in addition to COVID-19.
Many testing locations are available valley wide ready to serve the community. Often, pop-up locations will appear around the city and surrounding counties to help stop the spread in local areas. Schedule a testing appointment to eliminate wait time, or simply find a location to do a walk-up or drive-thru test.
Christopher Cochrane, Project Manager of Premier Lab Solutions (PLS) had the opportunity to be interviewed by INtouch Senior Services team Kerry Halcomb and Ligia Naik for the 4th Annual NFSMPHX Expo for Senior Living event. In their discussion, they chat about how Premier Lab Solutions is one of the fastest-growing local mobile laboratories as well as many of the new services being rolled out in the coming months.
Who We Are and What We Do Premier Lab Solutions is one of the fastest growing, privately held, woman-owned regional businesses headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona with over 400 employees serving the public, government entities, education districts, skilled nursing, assisted living, and memory care facilities.
Mobile Services What sets Premier Lab Solutions apart from other labs is a white glove touch, all-in-one lab experience. From scheduling with customer support to collection, transport, processing, and finally, resulting, PLS offers the handling of the entire sequence. Mobile lab services such as Mobile Phlebotomy have been a boon to the healthcare industry, filling in the gaps during the nursing shortage.
COVID Testing Full Respiratory testing provides full-service COVID services that is readily available with fast turnaround times. Detection of the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) virus is available via Molecular PCR Swab, At-Home Saliva collection for Molecular PCR and with our High Efficiency Antigen Testing. All tests are effective for symptomatic and asymptomatic patients.
New Services: Pharmacy Soon Premier Lab Solutions will be rolling out a Pharmacy division of the company. Premier Pharmacy Solutions will offer door-to-door prescription delivery, as well as automated compliance packaging machines, new storage systems, and new automated medication lockers.
New Services: Wound Premier Wound Solutions is an independent wound care program specializing in advanced wound treatment. Utilization of this service results in improved healing times, reductions in hospitalizations, and overall improved outcomes for patients while reducing care costs to facilities.
New Services: Mobile Phlebotomy The Premier Lab Solutions Mobile Phlebotomy team is available to travel to facilities as well as directly to patients’ homes. This service encompasses full-service treatment and provides all necessary labor, materials, supplies, and equipment for specimen collection. Everything is done in-house, ensuring security, reliability, and efficiency.
HIPAA Protection Efficiency Premier Lab Solutions keeps collections and testing processes in-house, which results in an efficient, streamlined, secure process. No chain of custody, no worry of losing samples, and no outside parties adding more variables means better privacy and security of patient and administrator data.
One Team, One Goal After seeing complex use of third-party services and tedious processes, the owners sought to create an all-in-one business model that alleviates the burden for administrators and facilities, freeing them up to focus on what they do best – patient care.
Contact To learn more about what Premier Lab Solutions can do for you, contact us. Laboratory experts are standing by ready to assist.
The United States is facing a serious nursing shortage which is having a cascading effect on the world of medicine, causing a nationwide crisis for many healthcare facilities. This serious issue is only expected to increase as the ripples spread outward and create more peripheral problems.
Why is there a nursing shortage?
Staff Turnover: Due to the pandemic and its stressful working environment, many healthcare workers have left the profession entirely. As a result, the remaining nurses are left to pick up the slack by taking on additional patients, often in ratios of 1:14. With so many top-tier nurses having left the field, new workers are not replacing those that left quickly enough, nor do they have the level of experience their predecessors had. Many new hires have less than two years experience in the industry, even in emergency room settings.
Workplace Competition: As a result of staff turnover in healthcare facilities, the workforce shrinks and makes facilities compete for the best talent. Many nurses have left the hospital setting to pursue more lucrative jobs as Travel Nurses for corporate wellness companies, doing on-site health screening and vaccine clinics. Travel Nurse pay and benefits are very appealing to many nurses, eclipsing the pay and benefits of resident nurses.
Retirement: Also crushed under the weight of the pandemic, many nurses took the opportunity to retire. The median age of nurses is 52 years old, meaning within the next decade, many of them will retire, leaving even more vacancies in the nursing shortage.
All of this culminates in a problem where more nurses are leaving the profession than are entering. This means that supply and demand are trending in opposite directions, with no sign of slowing down or reversing.
The good news is that a local laboratory is rising to the challenge and creating opportunities to fill in the gaps by adopting procedures to reduce burden and cost on facilities and make ease of comfort for patients that require service.
Premier Lab Solutions (PLS) is a local laboratory ready to reduce the burden and cost for skilled nursing, assisted living, and other in-need facilities. PLS has a mobile phlebotomy team able to conduct on-site blood draws 24/7. In current facilities, PLS has assisted with administrative and nursing obligations giving more time back to DONs and other staff members. Contact us to learn more. Our lab experts are standing by ready to assist.
Drug testing is vital to the level of care provided to your patients, practice, and community. Through compliance-based drug screening, our comprehensive drug screenings are designed to detect the most common drugs used today, such as prescribed medications and drug metabolites. Our state-of-the-art LC/MS machinery/technology has the ability to detect low levels of an illegal substance.
In addition to urine, drugs and metabolites are also present in a person’s saliva. Although not all drugs are detectable in oral fluids, it can be the best method of testing for a person who is unable to provide a sufficient urine sample. We typically use saliva collection for situations where urine alterations are a concern, the collection needs to be witnessed, or due to various health reasons.
Toxicology requires the highest level of patient confidentiality and HIPAA compliance. Collectors working at the Premier Lab Solutions facilities regularly receive training in compliance and PHI.
Our testing methods require minimal sample volume, virtually eliminating the need for specimen re-test due to insufficient quantity and enable us to provide some of the fastest turnaround times in the business.
Monkeypox, a viral disease passed to animals and humans, is very rare in the United States. It’s usually found in Central and West Africa. As monkeypox cases rise in Europe and the United States, health authorities are expressing concern about the unusual uptick.
Signs and Symptoms
The incubation period from infection to symptoms of monkeypox is usually 7-14 days, and the illness lasts for 2-4 weeks.
Monkeypox symptoms are similar but milder than those of smallpox. The illness begins with the following symptoms:
Swollen lymph nodes
Within 1-3 days after a fever begins, people may develop a rash starting on the face and then spreading to other body parts
There is no proven, safe treatment for monkeypox virus infection. However, most people recover in 2-4 weeks.
Transmission of monkeypox occurs when a person comes into contact with the virus from an animal, human or materials contaminated with the virus. The virus enters the body through broken skin, the respiratory tract, eyes, nose or mouth. According to the CDC and WHO, the smallpox vaccine is 85% effective in preventing monkeypox infection.
Consider the following measures to prevent infection with monkeypox:
Avoid contact with (live or dead) animals that could harbor the virus.
Avoid contact with any materials, such as bedding, that have been in contact with a sick animal.
Isolate infected patients from others who could be at risk for infection.
Practice good hand hygiene—washing your hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer— after contact with infected animals or humans.
Use personal protective equipment when caring for patients.
Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website for more information about monkeypox. If you have health concerns, contact your doctor.
A study published in the November 10th, 2022 issue of Nature Medicine, discovered that becoming reinfected with COVID-19 doubles your risk of death from related health issues, and triples your risk for hospitalization. Moreover, the researchers stated the risks and burdens associated with reinfection remained, even after accounting for differences in COVID-19 variants such as Delta, Omicron, and BA.5. They found a person is more likely to experience issues with their lungs, heart, brain, blood, muscles, and digestive system following a second or third bout with Covid-19.
Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis conducted a large retrospective cohort study that involved data given to them by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). In all, the data pool consisted of 443,588 patients with a single SARS-CoV-2 infection, 40,947 with two or more infections, and 5.3 million noninfected individuals.
“Reinfection with COVID-19 increases the risk of both acute outcomes and long COVID,” said Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. “This was evident in unvaccinated, vaccinated and boosted people.” U.S. News and World Report, 11/10/22
Study participants with repeat infections were over three times more likely to develop lung problems, three times more likely to suffer heart conditions, and 60% more likely to experience neurological disorders than patients who had been infected once. Researchers reported higher risks were most evident the first month following reinfection and still a factor six months later.
The good news is periodic testing at weekly or bi-weekly intervals can help you anticipate outbreaks in your facility and stop or slow the spread. As soon as infections are apparent, the infected individuals can be quarantined and those who begin to fall seriously ill can receive immediate medical attention.
Learn more about our Weekly COVID Testing Program and how you can better protect your facility from devastating outbreaks.
The Symptoms of COVID and Influenza are very similar. Which should you test for?
Three years ago, if a patient was complaining of body aches, cough, headache, chills, or diarrhea, you would have bet your bottom thermometer that it was the flu. However, when SARS-CoV-2 (COVID) hit the US in January of 2020, the diagnosis became more challenging due to the flu and COVID sharing extremely similar symptoms. Compared to the flu, COVID can cause more serious illnesses in some patients. COVID usually takes longer before symptoms appear, and with COVID people can remain contagious for longer periods of time. Here is a quick look at some of the similarities and differences in COVID and flu symptoms.
Onset and duration of symptoms – Markers associated with Omicron are runny nose, headache, fatigue, sneezing and sore throat.Typically it takes longer for COVID symptoms to appear (2 to 14 days) than it does for the flu (1 to 4 days). Symptoms of the flu usually appear as severe and very sudden whereas COVID symptoms tend to begin mildly and become progressively worse. Also, while symptoms of the flu often resolve after 4-5 days, symptoms of COVID can last for up to 3 months, particularly with Omicron.
Cough – Prevalent to both COVID and the flu. However, a flu-related cough tends to be mild, wet, and of short duration (1 to 4 days), and a cough associated with COVID is usually dry, can be severe and even painful, and can last for up to two weeks.
Fever, Body Aches and Fatigue – A fever of 100 degrees or higher and fatigue is common for both viruses, although slightly less for COVID. Based on the most recent variant, Omicron, fever, body aches and fatigue are even less common compared to previous ones.
Headache – Although this symptom is exhibited by both COVID and flu patients, it tends to be more severe for those infected by the flu.
Symptoms unique to COVID – A sudden loss of taste or smell can be one of the first signs of COVID infection. Omicron has also been associated with other symptoms that are atypical with the flu, or even earlier COVID variants. These include persistent chest pain or pressure, new confusion, and difficulty waking up or staying awake.
Self-diagnosis (often incorrect) or delays in treatment can be dangerous, so it’s important to know what’s ailing you and respond accordingly. Knowing for sure if you have COVID or Flu can help you prevent further spread and manage your illness, so getting tested is the first step. Premier Lab Solutions offers an all-in-one COVID + Flu A + Flu B + RSV panel using Real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) for accurate results. With one swab, the patients’ mind is at ease.
For more information on COVID vs. Flu and its differences, contact Premier Lab Solutions today. Our COVID resource experts are ready to assist.
Medical professionals are warning of a potential tridemic this winter season consisting of surges in cases of new COVID-19 variants, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), as well as Flu A & B. With the relaxed mask mandates and back-to-office workforces, these three outbreaks could spell trouble for most of the American population.
Read more about each prong of the forecasted tridemic and what you can do to protect yourself and your family.
COVID-19: A new variant has hit the USA and is quickly overtaking the Ba5 as the dominant strain. The new variants BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 may be more evasive to current vaccines and immune systems. While not deviating much from the Ba5 symptom-wise, the new variants are extremely contagious.
RSV: U.S. hospitals have seen an increase in RSV patients this fall. While exhibiting cold-like symptoms, this virus mainly affects children under five years old with most severe cases affecting children under one year old. This illness is predominantly passed on via surfaces at schools and daycares.
Flu A & Flu B: The seasonal flu is making its debut early this year and there are two main types to worry about. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, and they vary from person to person.
The best way to stay safe this season is periodic testing of COVID-19, RSV, Flu A & B. Weekly to semi-monthly testing will keep you informed and help keep your family and friends safe. Most laboratory testing facilities have an RPP panel test to properly diagnose these infections.
Conducting thorough research on a potential skilled nursing facility or a post-acute rehab hospital is essential to ensuring the best possible treatment during recovery. Here are some important considerations to help you make an informed decision.
First and Foremost Before selecting a facility, consider taking the following steps:
Get recommendations from friends, family and coworkers
Visit the facilities you are considering and talk with the Director or other staff members about the services, policies, history and staff credentials
Ask questions to determine if the facility meets your needs
Ask your adult children or trusted family member to accompany you on your visit and to help with the final decision
Important Considerations Below are a few questions to ask before selecting a facility:
Is it conveniently located?
Is it licensed or certified by an appropriate state agency? Is it certified by Medicare?
Does it have a written description of its services and fees? Will it provide financial assistance if you need it?
How is the confidentiality of private health information maintained?
Does it have an emergency patient care plan in case of a power failure or natural disaster?
Are physicians and on-site staff properly certified by appropriate medical boards?
Inpatient Questions The following are a list of questions to ask if you’re going to be an inpatient:
What is the policy regarding visitors? Are family members allowed to visit anytime?
If anesthesia or sedation is necessary, are those who administer it certified or trained?
Will the physician provide you with information related to your care?
What is the clinic’s success record for rehabilitation?
What is the physician’s specific training?
Will a discharge plan be developed if you wish to leave
Questions to Ask Yourself Before making a decision, ask yourself the following questions:
Is the facility clean? Visit and take a look around.
Does the waiting room look comfortable?
Do you have privacy in your room?
Choosing the right post-acute care center is a tough decision. For more information on finding the best post-acute recovery facility for you or a loved one, contact Premier Lab Solutions today. Our team of laboratory experts are ready to assist.