State Tackles Winnable Battle with Innovative Acute and Long-Term Care PartnershipPosted on by
Guest author – Patsy Tassler Kelso, Ph.D.
Vermont Department of Health – Infectious Disease
Vermont is taking on an exciting new project to prove that preventing healthcare-associated infections is a “winnable battle.”
We recognize that infections occur in all healthcare settings, and that multi-drug resistant organisms (MDRO) can travel with patients. That’s why the Vermont Department of Health, in partnership with CDC, Vermont Program for Quality in Health Care, and healthcare facilities statewide have formed the Vermont MDRO Prevention Collaborative. Our collaborative is bringing hospitals and nursing homes together in this effort – getting front-line staff to share ideas, bringing acute care infection prevention experience into long-term care settings.
Why nursing homes? Vermont has only 14 hospitals, and half are small critical access facilities. There are almost 3 times as many long-term care facilities providing skilled nursing care; they are a key partner. We’re proud to say that every Vermont hospital, along with one hospital in New Hampshire, and more than three-quarters of the nursing homes with skilled nursing facilities have joined the collaborative.
We grouped these facilities into 13 healthcare “clusters.” Each cluster has at least one hospital, plus the local long-term care facilities that use that hospital’s lab. These facilities care for the same communities, and therefore they address MDROs and will measure the impact of their efforts together as a team.
Clusters are using some proven, well-established interventions as well as some cutting-edge ones. The strategies we’ve asked them to consider include: active identification and specific management for patients carrying MDROs, use of standard communication about patients carrying MDROs as they move among facilities, minimizing use of devices and antibiotics that can increase MDRO risk, and enhancing infection prevention activities. Each cluster decides which interventions are feasible in their facilities and works together on implementation.
Though the clusters have only been working together for 3 months, we see exciting benefits. Participants have visited the other facilities in their clusters – often for the first time. They’ve seen firsthand some of the challenges their partners face, and identified common areas to address as a team. Everyone involved is sharing experiences and resources to make Vermont healthcare safer and better coordinated.
Vermont healthcare facilities have made a huge commitment to this year-long collaborative. We at the health department are proud to support their efforts and ensure their accomplishments continue beyond official timeline of this project.
- Page last reviewed:March 25, 2011
- Page last updated:March 25, 2011
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