Bloodstream Infections: I Believe in Zero CLABSIs! – Part 1 of 2Posted on by
Guest Author –Cathryn Louise Murphy, RN, PhD, CIC
2010 President – Association for Professionals in Infection Control & Epidemiology
Managing Director – Infection Control Plus
Associate Professor – Faculty of Health Services and Medicine, Bond University
“I believe in zero CLABSIs!” shouted a group of 3,400 APIC Annual Conference attendees at the conclusion of patient-safety leader Dr. Peter Pronovost’s opening session on Monday, July 11. Is the idea of zero central-line associated bloodstream infections a far-fetched dream, or a vision that can become reality for healthcare institutions around the world in the not-so-distant future?
Catheter-related bloodstream infections (CRBSIs) and central-line associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) carry high mortality and high cost, leading to more than 30,000 deaths in the U.S. each year and driving up the cost of care by more than $30,000 per patient. This is an even greater problem in developing countries, where the rates of HAIs related to devices are in most cases 3 to 5 times greater than in developed countries.
To discover why these infections remain an issue in healthcare facilities, APIC conducted a survey of 2,000 infection preventionists and released results during the conference. Half of those surveyed agree that catheter-related bloodstream infections continue to be a problem in their facilities and cite lack of time, resources, and the commitment of hospital leadership as hindering their ability to combat these infections more aggressively.
When asked to identify the greatest challenges to implementing best practices to prevent CRBSIs, the top answers were enforcing policies related to infection prevention and educating staff, followed by conducting surveillance using a paper-based system.
While there is increasing awareness among hospital leaders that CRBSIs are an issue, only one in four respondents strongly believe that their facility monitors compliance with best practices for the prevention of CRBSIs or holds clinical staff accountable for adhering to these practices.
Almost all bloodstream infections from catheters are preventable with clear, actionable steps. However, despite the widely publicized success of adopting those steps, only a quarter of U.S. hospitals report having adopted and consistently applying these principles.
We can do better than that. We must do better than that. We believe in zero CLABSIs. With focused efforts and relevant resources, we can eliminate this infection. Entirely.