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Infections in ICUs Plummeting, Too Many Remain in Hospitals and Dialysis Clinics

Posted on by CDC's Safe Healthcare Blog
Arjun Srinivasan, MD
Arjun Srinivasan, MD

Author – Arjun Srinivasan, MD
CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion

As you know, bloodstream infections in patients with central lines can be deadly, killing as many as 1 in 4 patients who gets them. The newest edition of the CDC Vital Signs reports a major decrease in central-line associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) in intensive care unit (ICU) patients. This is an important triumph for patient safety and brings me a renewed sense of hope toward the elimination of HAIs. It also solidifies an expectation that infection prevention should be a priority in order to improve the safety of patients.

While progress is promising, about 60,000 bloodstream infections in patients with central lines still occurred outside of ICUs and in dialysis centers, according to our report. Much of this is preventable harm. We have to make every effort to ensure patients are protected in all healthcare facilities, all the time. So, how do we do that?
The good news is that everyone can contribute to preventing CLABSIs, no matter where the patient receives care.

Patients should feel empowered to ask doctors why the central line is needed, how long it will be needed, and which infection control measures will be followed. Doctors, nurses, and healthcare facilities should follow the CDC-recommended infection control guidelines each and every time a central line is put in and cared for. Also utilize CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network as a prevention tool, so you can identify issues, develop prevention strategies and evaluate progress. State governments can join, start, or expand programs (e.g. “On the Cusp: Stop BSI” ) to keep bloodstream infections from happening in patients with central lines. Your federal government can and will develop and distribute further prevention guidelines and tools – and engage its numerous partners in the promotion of prevention.

Clearly, there is more work to be done to ensure that patients in all healthcare settings are protected from central line-associated bloodstream infections. Are you doing all that you can to ensure your patients are protected from acquiring a CLABSI? What can be done to continue the reduction of these infections outside of our ICUs?

Posted on by CDC's Safe Healthcare Blog

4 comments on “Infections in ICUs Plummeting, Too Many Remain in Hospitals and Dialysis Clinics”

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    The website address was not given in order to read the 2010 California dialysis facility surveys..
    Roberta Mikles RN
    Director, Advocates4QualitySafePatientCare
    Dialysis Patient Safety Advocate (uncompensated with no ties to the dialysis industry)

    We have posted the surveys for California (2010) to our website. The significant number of deficiencies cited in infection control is shameful, truly shameful. The most basic practices are not being implemented. Is there adequate training/education given to staff? Is there effective unit-level supervision to ensure correct implementation of infection prevention practices? Who is monitoring new staff? Again, the significant number of deficiencies is not only scarey, but shows that something is amiss in units.
    Roberta Mikles RN, Dialysis Patient Safety Advocate
    Director, Advocates4QualitySafePatientCare
    San Diego, CA

    Great post. This thread is mostly likely dead but I will leave my comments anyway. I am in favor of Universal Healthcare, but I think those of us who would like to see everyone covered are wrong about our opposition. Those oppose to Universal Healthcare also dislike the current system, but for different reasons. Those who oppose Universal Healthcare are not concerned about cost or efficiency, they say they do but that is not really their issue. They oppose universal coverage on moral grounds. I think this is where we who advocate for change miss the real the argument. The political right believes that wealth is a virtue and poverty a vice. In our current system we cannot turn people away for emergencies, so many people wait until their condition becomes an emergency before seeking help. The political right would have those with a medical emergency turn away as well. They believe that if you do not have the means to pay you should die, and crying about it makes you a communist. To them it is proper, and moral, to let people die if they cannot pay. This is really what guides their policies, they will never admit it, but at heart is really what they believe. Therefore there will never be an agreement. We keep arguing with them about cost and effectiveness but despite all the facts we cannot change their minds. But that is because we are arguing the wrong thing. It is about morality. We believe everyone has a right to medical attention, they believe it is not a right but a luxury, if you cannot pay, well, shut up and die.
    Health and safety Toronto

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