Safety is in the details
Safety in the ICU

The Role of Healthcare Professionals in Preventing Hospital Infections

August 1, 2016

 

Hospital acquired infections cause approximately 99,000 deaths in the USA per year [1]. Every year 1.7 million people in the USA acquire an infection during hospitalization [2]. If a patient acquired an infection, the hospital stay is prolonged by 17.6 days on average and 9.4% of inpatient costs in hospitals are attributed to Healthcare Associated Infections (HAIs). All these numbers indicate HAIs as a top priority issue for the healthcare system.


NCBI data [3] shows that during the delivery of health care, patients can be exposed to a variety of exogenous microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa) from other patients, health care personnel, or visitors.


Healthcare associated infection (HAI) rates in adult, and pediatric ICUs are approximately three times higher than elsewhere in hospitals and some research has found at least 90 percent of infections are associated with invasive devices, such as needles and catheters.


Practical Guidelines for Infection Prevention
Research regarding the role of healthcare professionals in prevention of infections [4] has found that frequent hand washing remains the single most important intervention in infection control, and while gloves, gowns, and masks have a role in preventing infections, they are often used inappropriately.


Below are some general guidelines for healthcare professionals to follow to prevent hospital infections from occurring. We have provided additional resources for detailed guidelines in each scenario.


Hand Hygiene
Hands should be washed thoroughly upon entering a patient's room and before making contact with the patient or any objects that may come in contact with the patient. After a healthcare professional has completed their tasks, they should use an alcohol-based hand rub while exiting the patient's room.


Environmental Cleaning/Disinfection
All surfaces in the patient's room should be cleaned and sterilized using an EPA approved hospital grade disinfectant.


Injection Safety
General recommendations include the use of a sterile, single-use, disposable needle and syringe for each injection given and prevention of contamination of injection equipment and medication. Whenever possible, use of single-dose vials is preferred over multiple-dose vials, especially when medications will be administered to multiple patients. Use fluid infusion and administration sets (i.e., intravenous bags, tubing and connectors) for one patient only and dispose of appropriately after use. Consider a syringe or needle/cannula contaminated once it has been used to enter or connect to a patient's intravenous infusion bag or administration set.


The Marvelous Stopcock helps reduce Infections in the ICU
Despite the best efforts of healthcare professionals to prevent hospital infection, they are still limited by the tools they have available. The Marvelous™ stopcock was invented in response to safety hazards from patients, as well as staff, in the ICU or other medical settings where an IV or catheter is required.


Its unique design includes a luer-activated valve, which serves as a bacterial barrier, allowing access to the line without opening it and producing a needle-free injection site. The fluid flow around the handle creates a unique “circumferential channel” that reaches the entire internal volume of the valve. Whether a drug or blood, the internal volume is constantly flushed by the in-line flow providing greater protection against blood clotting and bacterial colonization.


To learn more about the Marvelous™ stopcock and how it increases hospital safety for patients and healthcare professionals, take a look at our white paper that summarizes clinical evidence and explains how the Marvelous™ (MRVLS) reduces the risk of stopcock colonization in the operating room and intensive care units. It's completely free, and you don't even need to give us your email address.

 

Download the free Marvelous™ clinical evidence here

 

Resources:
1. http://healthblawg.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83451d52c69e2014e89b271d1970d-500wi
2. http://thumbnails.visually.netdna-cdn.com/healthcare-associated-infections-the-unknown-killer_502916298f237_w450_h300.jpg
3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK2683/
4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1741873/

 

Further recommended reading
Learn more about intravenous fluid regulation and how marvelous can help:
http://www.infusesafety.com/complications-associated-with-intravenous-fluid-regulation

Learn how next generation stopcocks are reducing infections in the ICU:
http://www.infusesafety.com/next-generation-stopcocks--reducing-infections-in-the-icu

Learn about 5 infection-related healthcare staff mistakes and how to avoid them:
http://www.infusesafety.com/5-mistakes-icu-staff-make-to-cause-infection

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