Take the Diabetes Health Pump Survey
See What's Inside
Read this FREE issue now
For healthcare professionals only
  • 12 Tips for Traveling With Diabetes
See the entire table of contents here!

You can view the current or previous issues of Diabetes Health online, in their entirety, anytime you want.
Click Here To View

See if you qualify for our free healthcare professional magazines. Click here to start your application for Pre-Diabetes Health, Diabetes Health Pharmacist and Diabetes Health Professional.

Learn More About the Professional Subscription

Free Diabetes Health e-Newsletter
Latest
Popular
Top Rated
Health Policy, Archives
Print | Email | Share | Comments (0)

US Hospitals Lacking When It Comes to Infection Protocols


Feb 10, 2014

ICUs don't always follow infection prevention guidelines

Most of us don't expect to face a life-threatening infection when we're being treated at a hospital.

But according to a new study, the most comprehensive of its kind for the last three decades, it's a very real possibility.

The study by researchers from the Columbia University School of Nursing in New York found that even when hospitals have policies in place to prevent infections through the use of certain healthcare equipment, clinicians often fail to follow those guidelines--even in intensive care units, where patients are often treated with devices linked to preventable infections.

Researchers studied compliance rates in 1,653 intensive care units at 975 hospitals, and focused on three of the most common preventable infections: bloodstream infections associated with central lines; ventilator-associated pneumonia; and catheter-associated urinary tract infections.

The study found that one in 10 hospitals dooesn't have checklists in place to prevent bloodstream infections, one in four lacks checklists to prevent ventilator-related pneumonia, and for those that do have checklists, they are followed less than half the time.

"Hospitals aren't following the rules they put in place themselves to keep patients safe," said Patricia Stone, PhD, centennial professor of Health Policy at Columbia Nursing, and head of the study. "Rules don't keep patients from dying unless they're enforced."

While more than 90 percent of the ICUs included in the study had checklists that included hand washing and dressing changes to ensure sterile insertion of central lines, only about half of those were followed, putting patients at risk for developing deadly blood infections through unsafe procedures.

For the use of ventilators, which provide oxygen when patients are unable to breathe on their own, three out of four ICUs had checklists to protect against infections, but those checklists--including elevating patients so their heads are higher than their feet to prevent pneumonia--were only followed about half the time.

About a third of hospitals had established policies to prevent against urinary tract infections from catheters, researchers said, but those policies were followed less than 30 percent of the time.

"Every hospital should see this research as a call to action--it's just unconscionable that we're not doing every single thing we can, every day, for every patient, to avoid preventable infections," said Stone.

Infections associated with health care kill about 100,000 Americans a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control, and create about $13 billion in excess medical costs. Checklists and other infection control practices can improve those rates, officials say, but only if there's compliance.

Researchers suggested the implementation of two solutions: electronic monitoring systems that provide reports cards on compliance rates; and adding more staff certified in infection control to monitor compliance.

"We've come a long way in understanding what causes health care-associated infections and how to prevent them," Stone said. "This study shows we still have a long way to go in compliance with well-established, life-saving and cost-saving measures that we know will lower infection rates."

The study appeared in the American Journal of Infection Control.


Categories: American Journal of Infection Control, Health Policy,, Hospital Infections, ICUs, Intensive Care Units, Life-Threatening Infections, Nursing, Preventable Infections



You May Also Be Interested In...


Comments


Add your comments about this article below. You can add comments as a registered user or anonymously. If you choose to post anonymously your comments will be sent to our moderator for approval before they appear on this page. If you choose to post as a registered user your comments will appear instantly.

When voicing your views via the comment feature, please respect the Diabetes Health community by refraining from comments that could be considered offensive to other people. Diabetes Health reserves the right to remove comments when necessary to maintain the cordial voice of the diabetes community.

For your privacy and protection, we ask that you do not include personal details such as address or telephone number in any comments posted.

Don't have your Diabetes Health Username? Register now and add your comments to all our content.

Have Your Say...


Username: Password:
Comment:
©1991-2014 Diabetes Health | Home | Privacy | Press | Advertising | Help | Contact Us | Donate | Sitemap

Diabetes Health Medical Disclaimer

The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained on or available through this website is for general information purposes only. Opinions expressed here are the opinions of writers, contributors, and commentators, and are not necessarily those of Diabetes Health. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website.