Hospital Infections – Stay Safe!
In the Washington Post on Tuesday, July 13, there was an article titled “Basic Practices Could Help Prevent Hospital Infections.”
The article made a very clear point that evidence shows that five basic steps can prevent 1500 deaths per year, reduce catheter-related bloodstream infections by more than 30%, and save $200 million over the first 18 months. I can see that hospital executives might not have 1500 deaths and several thousand infections on their radar screens. But since many hospitals are striving to eke out profits, I would think that a number like $200 million just might capture their attention.
The very basic five steps that would save lives and costs? Have practitioners do the following before administering a needle/catheter into the patient’s veins: 1) Wash hands with soap; 2) Clean patient’s skin with antiseptic; 3) put sterile drapes over entire patient; 4) Wear a sterile mask, gown, hat and gloves; 5) put a sterile dressing over the catheter site.
I cannot imagine that washing hands and sterilizing the patient’s skin would be a controversial policy, but apparently so. The article goes on to state that many hospital chief executives are unaware of their institution’s bloodstream infection rates, or how easily those infections can be prevented. It angers me that the lives and health of so many people are put at risk through neglect and ignorance.
For information on how you can help prevent infections if you or a loved one wind up in the hospital, visit the Campaign Zero website. Campaign Zero is dedicated to patient safety and reducing medical errors.
Submitted by guest editor Debora Harvey
We have designed and developed a Care Partner Program for hospitals which provides patients’ families with our checklists bundled with the products they need to help hospital staff prevent Never Events, especially hospital acquired infections of all kinds. We recruited two hospitals to participate in a beta test of our program, scheduled for this past spring. Funded by a Discovery Grant from Medline, costs to the hospitals would be zero… and they had a chance to zero out Never Events with our help over a three month test. Win-win right? In each case, the hospital eventually backed out due to internal politics and personal agendas– even though the test was sanctioned at the top. What was most discouraging is that one of the hospitals is a Planetree hospital, a “patient centered” care facility. So, yes, Pronovost is spot on right…and then some.