(RxWiki News) Bloodstream infections are an ongoing concern in all hospital intensive care units. One large academic medical facility has found a way to eliminate a type of bloodstream infection over the last six months.
Nurses at the University of Maryland Medical Center's surgical intensive care unit used a hands-on effort to cut $200,000 in spending and save lives through a dramatic reduction in central-line associated bloodstream infections.
During the 25-week project period, there were no reports of central-line bloodstream infections. During the same period a year ago the 19-bed facility reported 14 of that type of bloodstream infections and up to three resulting deaths. The initiative occurred between July 2010 and December 2010.
"Ask questions before receiving a central-line catheter."
The average cost for a central-line bloodstream infection is about $18,432. By eliminating 14 in the last six months the hospital saved $258,048. They also spent an additional $44,000 on a nurse's salary for the six-month period.
The initiative was recently presented at the 38th Annual Educational Conference and International Meeting of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology. It has not yet been published for peer review.
In an effort to combat the higher than average central-line bloodstream infections, the hospital appointed dedicated infection control nurses to oversee central line catheter insertions. An infection control nurse was present at each central line insertion and was trained to watch for breaks in technique or breaches in hand hygiene, and to perform daily assessment of central line dressings.
Additionally, the nursing staff held daily educational meetings, came up with a system of reminders for best practices, and created incentive programs to keep the team motivated and engaged. They also removed excess clutter from patient rooms and hallways to ease cleaning.
Michael Anne Preas, RN, BSN, CIC, infection preventionist at the University of Maryland Medical Center and co-leader of the project said it was a back to basics effort in which nurses took ownership of the best practices, ultimately driving the changes.