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Stefano Botti
Nicola Serra
Fausto Castagnetti
Sabina Chiaretti
Nicola Mordini
Gianpaolo Gargiulo
Laura Orlando
(*) Corresponding Author:


Background: Italy has been one of the first European countries hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, with many patients dying from severe respiratory issues, especially frail subjects. Hematology patients are generally thought to be at high risk of developing severe COVID-19-associated complications. The aim of this work was to describe the infection control measures adopted in Italian hematology settings to protect patients and healthcare professionals.

Materials and Methods: On behalf of the Nursing Campus in Hematology Group, a nationwide nursing survey was conducted. Questionnaire items included general information, infection control measures, patient and healthcare professional protection, information management, and participants opinion on key issues. Data have been analyzed by center location (Northern, Central or Southern Italy) and by patient age (adult vs pediatric).

Results: Forty-four Italian hematology centers participated, representing 52.4% of those invited. Patients underwent nasopharyngeal swabs (93.2%) generally the day before admission (43.2%), though less frequently in southern centers (p = 0.0377). Visitor restrictions were implemented in all centers: 65.9% barred all visitors, while 25.0% allowed visitors only for patients with specific conditions, especially in central Italy. Deficiency of personal protective equipment, including masks (45.5%) and gloves (22.7%), was reported, although the nurses’ opinion was that the emergency was nevertheless well managed in terms of protecting patients and professionals. Almost all healthcare institutions (97.7%) provided recommendations on emergency management. No significant differences were found between adult and pediatric centers in terms of infection prevention and control.

Discussion:. Low variability in patient protection strategies was observed, meaning that national recommendations were effective. However, some critical issues emerged regarding the management of infected healthcare professionals and their contacts.

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