According to an article in the New England Journal of Medicine in December 2006, there was a 66 percent reduction in central-line associated blood stream infections after 67 hospitals in Michigan implemented a checklist developed by Peter Pronovost, M.D, Ph.D. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius called on all hospitals across America to use the checklist to reduce central-line infections in ICUs by 75 percent over the next three years, this check list includes:
- Washing hands before and after examining a patient or inserting, replacing, accessing, repairing and dressing the catheter (line).
- Disinfecting the skin of the patient before inserting the catheter and during dressing changes.
- Maintaining aseptic technique by wearing a mask, cap, sterile gown, and a steril gloves when inserting the line.
- Avoiding placing the catheter in the groin because the groin area is hard to keep clean. A subclavian site is preferred.
- Removing unnecessary catheters.
Not all hospitals follow this list. If a family member or a friend has to be hospitalized in intensive care, take this list with you and ask whether the intensive care unit uses it, says Dr. Pronovost in Consumer Reports. He also believes that public accountability powerfully motivates hospitals to get their infection rates under control.
Under new laws 27 states are disclosing infection rates or will have to while five years ago only four states did reported hospital infection rates.
Reporting infection rates in hospitals and making them public help people decide which hospital is better and which hospital to go to, therefore it is important to search and see whether or not your hospital provides information about its infection rate. In case your hospital’s infection control rate is not good and you don’t have the option of changing it then you, your family member should make sure that the hospital staff taking care of you are following measures necessary to prevent infection including washing the hands, using gloves, and using disinfectants. If a central line is needed, make sure that the staff is following the Pronovost checklist. You also play a role in reducing the chance of infection by following all the instructions given to you by your healthcare providers.
This information is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice; it should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Call 911 for all medical emergencies.