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PSQH Blog: Long-Term and Acute-Care Organizations Collaborate to Fight Infection
PSQH, like most of the safety and quality improvement community, has focused primarily on hospitals and increasingly on primary care. At the annual conference of the Association of Professionals in Infection Control (APIC) earlier this month, I learned about important improvement work underway in long-term care (LTC) facilities. Current trends, such as the growth of accountable care and baby boomers easing into old age, will bring increasing attention to the quality and efficiency of LTC. Based on what I heard at APIC, there’s valuable work being done, success stories to share, and tremendous—if elementary—challenges ahead.

Healthcare-Associated Infection Reports
How do states include and inform the public? Do people notice?

Using Change Management Principles to Improve Infection Control
Change never ends in healthcare. Institutions must constantly adapt to evolving research, regulations, technology, and economic conditions as well as internal crises. Because change is inevitable, successful organizations prepare for it. They know they must carefully plan the change process so that staff will broadly accept a new protocol, technology, or organizational strategy.

Seven Years, Zero CLABSIs: How a California Hospital Did It
Joint Commission executives Mark Chassin, MD, FACP, and Jerod Loeb, PhD, have an uncomfortable question for hospitals: If airlines and chemical plants can maintain superb safety records despite huge potential hazards, why can’t you?

CUSP: Scaling Up a Safety Framework
In the 13 years since the Institute of Medicine (IOM) issued its clarion call exposing major deficiencies in U.S. healthcare (2000), improving patient safety has been a foremost goal within our system. Providers, purchasers, consumers, payers, regulators, and other stakeholders have worked tirelessly together to formulate strategies to reduce needless harms (including needless deaths) resulting from care.

Hand Hygiene — Moving Toward the Five Moments
Much has been written and discussed about the Five Moments for Hand Hygiene from the World Health Organization (WHO). Most healthcare workers agree that doing hand hygiene at those five events is important to improve patient care but not everyone agrees on the real-world implementation.

AHRQ Patient Safety Project Reduces Bloodstream Infections by 40 Percent
Over a 4-year period, 1,100 ICUs in 44 states used the Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program (CUSP) to prevent infections.

Hand Hygiene: Necessary but Not Sufficient
Common sense, at least since Antonie van Leeuwenhoek in 1676 and Louis Pasteur in 1862, has dictated that we should be cautious of germs. Leeuwenhoek is credited with being the first microbiologist and Pasteur with developing germ theory in his work in the same field.

Compliance Improvement through Technology
According to The World Health Organization (WHO; 2010), at least 7 of every 100 hospitalized patients in developed countries—and 10 out of 100 in developing countries—will experience a hospital-acquired infection (HAI). To reduce the risk, WHO recommends specific hand hygiene methods involving soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitizer.

Getting a Feel for Better Infection Control
Advanced simulator for nurses addresses hospital-acquired infections.

Eliminating CLABSI: Progress on a National Patient Safety Imperative
At any given time, about 1 in every 20 patients has an infection related to his or her hospital care. These infections cost the U.S. healthcare system billions of dollars each year and lead to the loss of tens of thousands of lives. For too long, healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) were considered an inevitable consequence of a hospital stay. Today, health researchers have provided proof that these deadly and costly infections can be sharply reduced—and even eliminated—by adhering to a defined set of evidence-based practices.

Hand Hygiene Measurement and Education
Compliance improvement can be successful, sustained, and cost effective.

Central Line Infections: Targeting Zero on an Oncology Unit
A physician commented that he was concerned about central line care for his patients. While this is a common concern in many organizations, it was not acceptable in one that aspired to achieve performance at best practice levels. Our hospital—Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire, Wisconsin—has an excellent reputation for quality and caring, competent clinicians. As a new quality leader in the organization, I had the opportunity to evaluate this physician’s concern objectively and to work on meeting our patients’ needs and expectations.

Improving IV Catheter Care to Safeguard against Deadly Infections
As recently reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC; 2010), the incidence of bloodstream infections associated with central venous catheters (central lines) has dropped 18%. The report compared data from January to June 2009 to data from 2006 to 2008. This drop is important because it suggests that a national effort to prevent the infections is having some impact.

Infection Control Showcase: Battling the Bugs
Over seven months in 2010 there were more than 350 cases of carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae (CRKP), according to a study by the Los Angeles County Department of Health. The cases were in healthcare facilities such as hospitals and nursing homes. CRKP has been officially reported in 36 states, but health officials expect it’s also in the 14 other states where reporting is not required.

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Antimicrobial Copper and Infection Prevention

New research has revealed that the use of Antimicrobial Copper metal touch surfaces can reduce healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs). A randomized clinical trial compared the clinical outcomes of  patients treated in Intensive Care Unit rooms with antimicrobial copper components to those treated in ICU rooms with standard components. Patients treated in rooms with copper components had a 58.1% reduced risk of acquiring infection. Numerous strategies have been developed to decrease HAIs, however, using Antimicrobial Copper touch surfaces is the only strategy that works non-stop,  has been scientifically proven to be effective and doesn’t depend on human behavior. Results were published in the May edition of the Journal of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

 

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