Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


36th Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2010

Event Details

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Symposium #232
CE Offered: BACB
Behavioral Approaches to Pandemic Planning and Prevention in Hospital Settings
Sunday, May 30, 2010
1:30 PM–2:50 PM
Republic A (Grand Hyatt)
Area: OBM/CBM; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Timothy D. Ludwig (Appalachian State University)
CE Instructor: Josh Pritchard, M.S.
Abstract: In light of the H1N1 virus pandemic, hospitals have had to prepare for the safety and health of their staff and patients. This symposium reviews four studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of Behavioral Systems Analysis (BSA) and Organizational Behavior Management (OBM) in planning for adequate staffing in the event of local outbreaks and preventing the spread of H1N1 in hospitals.
Behavioral Systems Planning for a Pandemic in a Major Regional Medical Center to Assure Staff Availability
ARIEL GROSSHUESCH (Appalachian State University), Timothy D. Ludwig (Appalachian State University), Chris Frazier (Appalachian State University)
Abstract: This research examined how a major academic medical center planned and prepared for the onset of a potentially detrimental pandemic outbreak of H1N1 flu. The focus was on determining how the medical center developed its plan for staffing its departments with competent employees during a pandemic that could reduce the professional staff by as much as 50% due to illness. A behavioral systems analysis was conducted and used in the planning process, and was then compared to pre-existing disaster planning theory. Plans regarding the allocation of staff to different departments and outcome staffing adequacy data are described and analyzed. Implications and suggestions for other hospital’s pandemic planning were discussed.
Social Distancing and Hygiene as an Influenza Pandemic Mitigation Strategy: Employee Compliance and Performance
MICHAEL A. MAGOON (Booz|Allen|Hamilton), Douglas Himberger (NORC at the University of Chicago), Joan Bishop (Booz|Allen|Hamilton), Karen Davis (Booz|Allen|Hamilton)
Abstract: A quasi-experimental design was used to evaluate the degree to which employees would comply with the social distancing and hygiene (SDH) requirements of a $43B/year defense contractor’s pandemic preparedness plan and what impact, if any, such compliance would have on employee performance. Employees complied with SDH guidelines, though did so differently between the social distancing and hygiene components. Business operations were not significantly disrupted during the simulation and certain elements of employee performance may have been temporarily improved. This is the first study to use best practice behavioral observation methods to examine the significant social challenge of business continuity of operations during a pandemic event. While conclusions must be limited to the parameters of this study, the methods employed provide a solid foundation on which to replicate across organizations and industries and to examine potential behavioral interventions that could strengthen pandemic preparedness plans.
More Antecedents Please! The “Safety Blitz” Approach to Managing Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure
THOMAS R. CUNNINGHAM (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health), Amanda Harney (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health), Ray Sinclair (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)
Abstract: Occupational safety and health efforts are often dominated by antecedent messages which communicate specific hazards or risks. Sharps injuries and bloodborne pathogen (BBP) exposure are significant risks to many healthcare workers, and risk awareness communications as well as sharps safety strategies are key components of BBP exposure prevention efforts. This paper includes an evaluation of the Stop Sticks campaign, a multi-media communication intervention targeted at multiple healthcare facilities (e.g., individual hospital departments, an entire hospital, and a nursing home). This large-scale intervention consisted of several sets of tailored communications, or ‘safety blitzes’, aimed at raising awareness among healthcare workers regarding the risks of sharps injuries and BBP exposure, and methods of prevention. Following a comprehensive needs assessment in each facility, tailored communications were delivered via several channels. Results indicate high levels of knowledge and communication channel recall, minimal attitude and behavior change, and a strong association between sharps-related safety behavior and safety climate. This research suggests the blitz approach is viable for raising awareness of occupational safety and health issues. Based on these findings, recommendations are offered for conducting safety blitzes, and the adaptation of the blitz approach for use in an organizational H1N1 influenza preparedness effort will be discussed.
Behavioral Systems Analyses for a Sustainable Hand Hygiene Program Across the Healthcare, School, and Business Community
MOLLI LUKE (University of Nevada, Reno), Mark P. Alavosius (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: Hand washing is a ubiquitous behavior and is important in a myriad of human service, education, health-care, and other settings where people are in close contact. Yet research has shown that levels of adherence are around 40% in healthcare workers (Boyce, 2001). With the present concern about the H1N1 virus, hand hygiene is becoming increasingly necessary beyond the hospital. Boyce (2009) notes that hand washing and hand sanitizer are effective at reducing the spread of the seasonal strain of influenza A as well as the H1N1 virus. This is true in all environments, not just healthcare organizations. Behavioral systems analysis provides a means for developing a prototype infection management program to increase workers’ adherence with CDC guidelines for hand washing in various sectors of a community including, hospital, school and business organizations. This paper describes the development of a comprehensive program in Truckee, California where the community hospital is the center for transfer of training and support technology to important sectors of the local community. Analyses of organizational variables are used to inform modifications in a behavior-based management approach, developed and tested in the hospital, for establishing and sustaining adherence with CDC guidelines for hand hygiene by school and business personnel.



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