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Blood Stream Infection

Identifying and minimizing the specific risks for blood stream infections is a top priority in infection-control initiatives. St. Mary was successful in achieving a 60-percent reduction in bloodstream infections between 2005 and 2006. 

The patients most likely to get a central line associated blood stream infection are those who are chronically ill, have an existing primary site infection or are receiving ongoing invasive medical treatment with items such as intravenous lines.Central venous catheters are generally used in patients in intensive care units.

Efforts includuing additional staff education and establishing clinical practices to optimize good hygiene techniques to maintain a sterile field and prevent the occurance of infection. Through improved teamwork, we focused efforts on complying with the most effective infection control practices for central venous and central arterial line insertions. We also increased monitoring of patients for infection, including routine testing of patients admitted through nursing homes.  Whenever medical safe, we worked to shorten the duration of use for infusions and transfusions to also reduce risk of infection.

St. Mary is a member of the Partnership for Patient Care, which also has made good progress in the area of infection control. Last December, the group reported positive results from a year-long patient safety initiative that studied ways to improve processes that would reduce infections in hospital patients in several areas, including the insertion of central catheter lines.

If you are a patient with a central venous catheter, here's what you can do to minimize your risk of infection

  • Do not touch, pick or scratch your intravenous catheter (drip) or any tube, drain, wound or wound dressings
  • Keep bedside areas free of clutter to assist staff in keeping these areas clean
  • Do not allow relatives or friends to touch your wounds and dressings.
  • Ask staff and visitors to wash their hands when entering and leaving your room.
  • Ask friends and relatives not to visit if they have any infections, including colds and flu