War on Infections
Target Zero – Eliminating Hospital Acquired Infections
A Hospital Acquired Infection (HAI) is an infection that was not present when the patient was admitted/treated in the hospital. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 out of every 10-20 patients hospitalized in the United States develops a healthcare-associated infection. There are many consequences of HAIs such as increased cost of care, decreased reimbursement, extended length of stay, damaged hospital reputation, but even more importantly, higher mortality rate. HAIs are responsible for approximately 90,000 deaths annually.
Eliminating hospital acquired infections will require a culture change for the entire organization. Everyone has a role in prevention of infections and will need to make a conscious effort to reach Target Zero. As we declare “war against hospital acquired infections”, it is vital to enlist all Thibodaux Regional team members as key players in this initiative. It will take knowledge, as well as commitment from all to make a difference. All team members are expected to do their part by learning how to prevent infections, doing what is right, and teaching others to do the same.
To identify current strengths and weakness, workout sessions were held with our leadership team focusing on methods proven to prevent HAIs. The groups brainstormed weaknesses and potential opportunities for improvement in 4 categories:
- Hand washing
- Personal Protective Equipment & Isolation Compliance
- Patient & Community Education
- Staff Education
The baseline information collected from these sessions was utilized to develop and implement a hospital wide campaign to eliminate HAIs.
To kick off a hospital wide campaign, a graphic was developed to assist in spreading the message on our goal to eliminate HAIs. The graphic is depicted below.
In an effort to personalize the importance of eliminating hospital acquired infections, a letter from the CEO, was sent to every employee’s home. The letter described the importance of this initiative as well as three key elements every person can do to assist in reducing the spread of infections.
Other key strategies to reduce HAIs included the deployment of three Six Sigma teams. These teams focused on Urinary Catheter Associated Infections, Ventilator Associated Pneumonias, and Surgical Site Infections. A Hand Washing Team was deployed to implement strategies to enhance hand washing compliance.
Targeting the elimination of Hospital Acquired Infections remains a key Quality Initiative in our pursuit of excellence. Performance improvement teams continue to focus on eliminating HAIs through hospital-wide efforts, resulting in sustained progress in the “war on infections”.