War on Infections
Eliminating Hospital Acquired Infections at Thibodaux Regional Medical Center
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 requires 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.
Developing a Plan of Action
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
- Patient & Community Education
- Staff Education
- Personal Protective Equipment & Isolation Compliance
The baseline information collected from these sessions was utilized to
develop and implement a hospital wide campaign to eliminate HAIs.
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
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
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”.