Real-Life Examples Presented During Project Firstline Office Hours

A picture is worth a thousand words. When it comes to infection prevention and control seeing the practices and resulting issues first-hand adds impact and encourages change. Recognizing the value of real-life examples for improving education, the South Dakota Project Firstline (PFL) Office Hours updated the session format to include discussion on photos from infection control risks identified in healthcare locations across South Dakota.

Project Firstline Office Hours
Wednesday, July 19, 2023, at 11:00 AM CST

Office hours was established to provide attendees an opportunity to engage in infection control education and recognize infection control risks present in their facility. The new format will provide participants with specific examples and insights on risk areas to be aware and potential solution to address the risk before it becomes an infection control problem.     

Jess Danko, MHSA, RRT, LTC-CIP, program manager for the South Dakota Foundation for Medical Care (SDFMC) says, “The education that we are providing to facilities provides insight into common risks that they can mitigate at their location which provides protection to the healthcare workers and patients such as myself that utilize their services.”    

Jess Danko

Healthcare acquired infections are very expensive and can be prevented if the proper infection control practices and policies are in place in healthcare settings.  Information and education on how to recognize infection control risks helps to offset healthcare acquired infections and protects everyone that enters the healthcare setting. 

“By identifying infection control risks in healthcare settings, we have seen new practices and policies put into place that work to reduce or eliminate infection control areas of concern,” emphasizes Danko.   

Additional infection prevention and control resources:

Playing it Safe with Children’s Toys  

Living room floors and backyards are strewn with toys and games throughout the summer months as kids enjoy the freedom and warm weather. Checking the safety of toys, especially in homes with children of different ages, is an important step to prevent injury. Separating toys intended for older children protects little ones from the dangers of sharp edges and the choking hazards of small parts.  

Amy Paulson, RN

“A good rule of thumb is if the toy is small enough to fit in a toilet paper role it is a potential choking hazard,”

points out Amy Paulson, RN, Bright Start program coordinator for the South Dakota Foundation for Medical Care (SDFMC). 

Getting the child to an emergency room immediately is vital if a parent even suspects a child has swallowed a high-powered magnet or small battery. The National Capital Poison Center hotline (1-800-498-8666) is available to provide support. Parents can prevent damage from a battery by following their recommendation of giving two teaspoons of honey every ten minutes to children over 12 months of age on the way to the emergency room.  

Anyone caring for children should follow these basic toy safety tips:  

  • Make sure toys are sturdy
  • Avoid toys with sharp or rigid points and dangerous edges
  • Verify string are 12 inches or shorters
  • Avoid marbles and small pieces until your child is over three
  • Demonstrate how to use the toy
  • After purchasing toy remove the tags to prevent a choking hazard
  • Choose age- appropriate toys and separate toys for older and younger children
  • Avoid toxic chemical. Lead- based paint used on older toys can result in lead poisoning
  • Check the website for all toys, including toys purchased from garage sales
  • Register new toys to be notified of recllas
  •  Report an unsafe toy 

“It is so important to demonstrate one-on-one with your child how to use each toy properly. Kids love to watch you and will follow your lead. It will enhance your bonding with your child as well,” emphasized Paulson.  

Every parent wants to keep their child safe and happy. The Bright Start program connects eligible expectant and first-time mothers with a personal nurse to provide education and support from pregnancy through the child’s second birthday.  Anyone can use the Bright Start Referral Form to learn more about the program.  

Sime Strengthens Infection Prevention Team

Building bridges, literally and figuratively, paved the way for Rebecca Sime, RN, to become the newest program manager for the South Dakota Foundation for Medical Care (SDFMC). Her journey from civil engineering to registered nurse has given Sime a unique perspective and skill set in both project management and quality improvement.  

As a member of the South Dakota Project Firstline (SD PFL) team, Sime will focus on providing relevant infection prevention and control training to health care workers in every setting and at every skill level.  

Rebecca Sime, RN

“As a lifelong leaner, I am passionate about education,” explained Sime. “Being on the frontline of the worldwide pandemic highlighted the need for and value of infection prevention and control.” 

Proper training prepares health care workers for an infectious disease outbreak or other emergency. Selected by her local government to establish an operational disaster command center, Sime has additional emergency preparedness experience to complement the SD PFL mission.  

Originally earning a degree in civil engineering, Sime added an Associate of Science in nursing from the University of South Dakota and quickly gained knowledge and expertise in long term care, critical access hospitals, the emergency department, dialysis, and the operating room.  

“Focusing on education, collaboration, strong working relationships, and planning leads to success,” concluded Sime. “I’m excited to contribute to the success of Project Firstline and prevent the spread of infection and disease.”   

Contact the Project Firstline team and access infection prevention training and resources on the South Dakota Project Firstline website. 

SDFMC Seeking Project Communications Manager

The South Dakota Foundation for Medical Care has a mission to improve quality of life for all South Dakotans by collaborating with healthcare professionals and community partners to achieve excellence in care. By pursing the organizational values to seek excellence, develop professionals, focus on outcomes, manage with integrity, and collaborate with partners, SDFMC has expanded the existing project portfolio and continues to seek growth opportunities.

As a result, SDFMC is seeking a Project Communications Manager to champion the mission and values using consistent messaging and proven communications strategies and channels to promote services and projects.

Download the job description for details of the position responsibilities and qualifications and complete the SDFMC Job Application.

Learn more about the projects, activities, and education opportunities by following SDFMC on social media.

Infection Lurks at Every Tooth 

Oral care goes beyond maintaining teeth.  The mouth tells a story about a person’s overall health, including revealing infection. Infection prevention and control practices in the dental setting are important for protecting those receiving and providing care. When working in the oral cavity, the body’s defense mechanisms are bypassed. Ensuring processes provide the highest level of infection prevention becomes the only way to properly provide safe care. Project Firstline (PFL) is an excellent training resource to make sure infection control practices are in place.    

Jess Danko, MHSA, RRT, LTC-CIP, program manager for PFL for the South Dakota Foundation for Medical Care (SDFMC) shared,

Jess Danko

“We have had multiple opportunities to work with dental professionals as well as future dental professionals. The dental office deals with instruments, exam rooms, water sources and care procedures that require high levels of monitoring in infection control practices.” 

Recognizing dental offices need high levels of infection prevention is the first step of PFL training! Education for dental students and those in the dental setting has been provided by the SD PFL team through virtual and in-person training. Providing virtual training after clinic hours allows clinicians to gain education without affecting their work schedule. In-person training for dental students provides opportunities to ask questions relevant to their future work setting.    

The material covered is the PFL virtual and in-person training is comprehensive. The education topics include hand hygiene, personal protective equipment (PPE), needle sticks, cleaning, disinfection, and more. This proactive approach of teaching dental students about infection prevention practices, prior to working directly in the setting, reinforces quality oral health care and care safety.  

Register to attend the “Germs Live on Devices” Office Hours call at 11:00 a.m. on June 14, 2023.

How valuable is PFL training according to participants? Post training surveys showed participants found the infection control training for the dental setting very useful! They learned skills and reviewed information they will utilize in their work setting. Discussions on antibiotic stewardship and how it correlates to the dental setting is an emerging topic.  

“Ensuring that antibiotics are used appropriately and discovering how the dental setting can assist in cutting down the use of unnecessary antibiotics has been highly discussed. Some professionals that have attended training sessions want to play an active part in assisting with reducing antibiotic overuse,” says Danko.

Learn more about infection prevention training and resources on the South Dakota Project Firstline website or watch a recent monthly office hour!   

Counting Kicks Saves Babies 

Feeling a baby moving is one of the true joys and wonders of pregnancy.  From the first soft flutters to the clear kicks and rolls, women often recognize and look forward to routine movement to connect with their baby during pregnancy.  Count the Kicks brings attention to changes in baby movement and triggers women to seek medical care, which saves lives. 

Valerie Wagner, RN, Bright Start home visiting nurse

“Having resources from multiple platforms, such as the Count the Kicks app, helps connect new moms to innovative ways for maintaining the health of their baby and themselves,” says Valerie Wagner, RN, Bright Start home visiting nurse for the South Dakota Foundation for Medical Care (SDFMC).  

Count the Kicks is an evidence-based stillbirth prevention campaign that provides education resources to healthcare providers and expectant mothers. Reduced activity in the late stages of pregnancy can be a sign of distress. The Count the Kicks application is a valuable tool for creating a daily record of baby movements during the third trimester.

Wagner and the team of Bright Start nurses keep moms and babies healthy by meeting with eligible women in their community or home to provide support and education. Home visits allow expectant first-time moms to ask questions, improve parenting skills, and connect to valuable resources. Individuals can use the Bright Start Referral Form to begin the enrollment process for themselves or a loved one.   

In addition to Count the Kicks, Bright Start nurses share text4baby with all Bright Start clients. This free app and messaging service provides education throughout pregnancy and includes a reminder option for appointments. Women who text BABY (or BEBE for Spanish) to 511411 receive free personalized text messages three times per week, timed to their due date or their baby’s birth date, through pregnancy up until the baby’s first birthday.  

Text4baby topics include:  

  • Signs and symptoms of labor
  • Doctor visit and appointment reminders for mothers and their baby
  • Breastfeeding advice
  • Nutrition for mothers and their baby
  • Safe sleep tips
  • Baby’s milestones
  • Care seat safety
  • Information on health insurance
  • Urgent health alerts
  • Resource hotlines and websites

The South Dakota Department of Health (SD DOH) considered infant mortality the gold standard for measuring the health of a population.  In 2021 the infant mortality rate for South Dakota was 6.3, with the American Indian population reporting a rate of 17.2. Provisional data for 2022 shows an increase to 7.8 and 20.7, respectively. The SD DOH has two Infant Death Review teams working to understand the circumstances of each death and acting to prevent other deaths. 

Having access to daily resources and tools increases confidence between Bright Start home visits and encourages women to understand and advocate for their health needs and the needs of their baby through the vital phases of pregnancy, postpartum, and infancy.  

Summer Safety with Little Ones  

The days are getting longer, and summer is right around the corner! For most people, summertime fun is the highlight of the year; and it’s important to stay safe while outside, especially with kids.  

Emily Carlson, RN, Bright Start home visiting nurse, points out, “I live for summer, and I love getting my littles involved in fun outdoor activities. Mental health for everyone in our household seems to rise when we’re able to be outside. I have had a lot of clients say they also feel so much better when being able to get fresh air outside. I look forward to doing some visits outdoors with clients while on a walk with them.” 

Bright Start home visiting nurses share childcare tips and summer safety precautions with financially eligible first-time mothers in communities across the state. Anyone can use the Bright Start Referral Form and get personal support from a professionally trained nurse for themselves, a loved one, or a patient.  

Emily recommends the following summer fun tips to keep kids safe.   

  • Wear broad spectrum sunscreen
    The risk for cancer doubles after just five sunburns! Take cover in the shade and wear protective clothing and hats. To learn more about the sun and sunscreen visit this link: Sun Safety: Information for Parents About Sunburn & Sunscreen –  
  • Water safety and visibility
    Keep careful watch of children to increase water safety. Looking at a text, checking a fishing line, or applying sunscreen gives enough time for a child or weak swimmer to drown.  Dress children in bright swimsuits that contrast with the surroundings to make them easier to see.
  • Apply insect repellent to prevent bug bites
    Choose an insect repellent to keep children safe from bugs, people’s least favorite thing about those warm summer months! Bites from insects leave kids miserable with itching and put them at risk for West Nile, which is present in South Dakota. Using repellent can be helpful in keeping them away, typically in the form of lotions or sticks for children.  
Bright Start Logo

First-time mothers who meet the income requirements can enroll or be referred to the Bright Start Program and receive personalized nursing care from pregnancy through the child’s second birthday.

Preparing Community PODS for Emergencies

Emergencies are unexpected and being prepared often saves lives. Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) provides the structure and tools to keep communities and volunteers safe in the event of a public health emergency. Point of Dispensing (POD) sites are essential for distributing medical counter measures, such as vaccines or other medications, to larger amounts of people.  

“It’s not ‘if’ a POD will be needed but ‘when.’ Most PODs are in the process of reestablishing POD teams through community outreach efforts, educating their communities, and establishing relationships with key leaders,” claims Brad Richardson, MBA, MS, FACHA.

“The South Dakota Foundation for Medical Care (SDFMC) completed thorough assessments of PODs throughout the state, measuring overall readiness of manpower, logistics, and training. The PODs that SDFMC has engaged with are now motivated to get to work!” 

SDFMC partnered with the South Dakota Department of Health (SD DOH) and 28 POD leaders to provide support in the areas of planning, training, operations, and community engagement. SDFMC works directly with the SD DOH Regional Preparedness Coordinators to offer guidance, direct support, and recommendations to improve community POD readiness.  

POD sites across the state provide mass action to prevent, mitigate, or treat adverse health effects during a public health emergency. Community engagement and volunteer recruitment are critical for maintaining an effective POD. Being educated about the role of the POD strengthens a community’s readiness to activate a POD, when needed. South Dakota needs emergency preparedness volunteers throughout the state to achieve overall readiness.  

Overall assessments help identify POD challenges, shortfalls, and compare the more successful PODs to those that were struggling. SDFMC is creating individual work plans for each POD to work toward achieving overall readiness and meet PHEP guidelines. Many city officials are eager to see the impact PODs can have on South Dakotan communities.  

Lawrence County Emergency Manager Paul Thomson said, “The work accomplished on the POD Plan in such a short time would not have been possible without the assistance of SDFMC.”  

Any South Dakotan can volunteer to support the POD in their community. Learn more about PODs by visiting the South Dakota Emergency Preparedness website:    

Secure Attachment: A mother to baby bond 

From the pregnancy test to the first kick and finally holding the baby for the first time, each moment creates a memory and strengthens the bond between a mother and baby. Learning about secure attachment helps create a better bond from the start of the parenting journey. First time mothers who meet the income requirements can enroll or be referred to the Bright Start Program to learn more about secure attachment to improve baby bonding.    

Amy Paulson, RN

“As a Bright Start nurse, I strive to assist every mom and baby to develop secure attachment through positive interactions. I love to see the joy and laughter when a child and parent interact,” says Amy Paulson, RN, Bright Start coordinator for the South Dakota Foundation for Medical Care (SDFMC). “A Bright Start nurse can provide tips on responsive, nurturing caregiving, reflect with you on your history, and be available to partner with you during pregnancy, infancy, and toddlerhood.”   

Secure attachment is a special emotional bond created when one feels valued, loved, and safe. Attachment theory is based on the joint work of J. Bowlby and M. S. Ainsworth in the 1950s.  “A securely attached child will store an internal working model of a responsive, loving, reliable caregiver, and of a self that is worthy of love and attention and will bring these assumptions to bear on all other relationships.” (John Bowlby and Attachment Theory)

Paulson points out, “Developing secure attachment creates a multi-generation effect as securely attached children will develop into secure adults and parents.” 

Secure Attachment Tips:

  • Comfort a crying baby by swaddling, rocking, or walking.
  • Talk to and repeat the sounds the baby makes.
  • Cuddle and hold the baby often.

 A Bright Start nurse provides personal care and support for new mothers through the journey of pregnancy to toddlerhood Paulson is trained in Partnering in Parenting Education (PIPE), “PIPE offers interactive activities related to listening, love, and play. We will review activities you can do with your child to improve physical, social, emotional, and cognitive functioning.”  

First time mothers who meet the income requirements can enroll or be referred to the Bright Start Program to learn more about secure attachment to improve baby bonding.   

CDC Project Firstline Town Hall May 16

May 11, 2023, marks the expiration of the federal COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) declaration. As a result, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated the infection control recommendations for healthcare facilities. 

To support healthcare workers to understand the updated recommendations and how they may be implemented in various facilities and settings, all healthcare providers are encouraged to register and attend the Virtual Project Firstline Town Hall on May 16, 2023, at 11:30 AM Central/10:30 AM Mountain.     

“As the public health emergency comes to an end, we need to keep in mind that infection control practices will not. Education on infection control topics will always be needed. The importance infection control plays in the lives of everyone will still remain,” commented Jess Danko, MSHA, RRT, LTC-CIP, program manager for South Dakota Foundation for Medical Care.

“When entering a healthcare facility, we as patients, caregivers, and visitors have been assured that infection control practices are a part of the everyday practice of care. Infection prevention and control is a priority for quality healthcare delivery and South Dakota Project Firstline offers up-to-date training opportunities across the state.” 

Jess Danko

South Dakota Project Firstline (SD PFL) provides onsite or virtual training and educational opportunities to all areas of healthcare. The training can be for a specific department in an in-person learning and sharing opportunity or it may be during a ten-minute virtual training during monthly staff meetings. SD PFL accommodates the needs of the healthcare facility and works to provide training when it is convenient for the teams and infection prevention staff. 

Cheri Fast

Cheri Fast, RN, CIC, LTC-CIP, WOCN, added, “A viral breakout that was only expected to last a few months turned the world upside down over the past three years. Even though the pandemic is officially over, we will never return to ‘normal’ as it was prior to COVID-19.” 

Learn more from CDC officials and fellow healthcare professionals, and about working together to stop the spread of infection at the Virtual Project Firstline Town Hall on May 16, 2023, at 11:30 AM Central/10:30 AM Mountain.    

We are Project Firstline