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Preventing Hospital-Acquired Infection

Patient safety remains our highest priority and St. Mary is a leader in adapting evidence-based practices proven to reduce the rate of infection. We are very proud of our ongoing proactive efforts to reduce the incidence of hospital acquired infections.  

In addition to ongoing hand-washing education, St. Mary has effectively implemented safety programs that have significantly reduced urinary tract, central-line, surgical-site and ventilator-associated pneumonia infections.

We remain fully committed to providing a culture of quality and safety for all patients and in adopting best practices in new and improved ways to prevent infection, including

  • Aggressive hand-washing campaign for staff, physicians and visitors
  • Appropriate isolation protocols
  • Adherence to evidence-based safety standards in cleaning for rooms and equipment

St. Mary is a participant in the Institute for Healthcare Improvment's “100,000 Lives Campaign,”  a voluntary reporting iniative to identify and implement best practice policies demonstrated to reduce rates of infection.

St. Mary uses quality standards recommended through the American Hospital Association’s “Surgical Care Improvement Project”  (SCIP) and began reporting the incidence of surgical site infection in January 2007 in accordance with the new CMS requirement.

St. Mary also participates in "Partnership for Patient Care,” a program in partnership with the Delaware Valley Healthcare Council and Healthcare Improvement Foundation which specifically addresses the issue of hospital-acquired infections. demonstrates the commitment of our region’s hospitals to take on this challenge. The “Partnership for Patient Care” is expected to become a national model and and demonstrates our region’s collective commitment to patient safety. “Partnership for Patient Care” recommends specific evidenced-based interventions designed to reduce rates of infection including the steps patients and their loved ones may take to reduce infection since they, too, are part of the healthcare “team.”

The Partnership for Patient Care has already 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 and the use of antibiotics before surgery.

As hospitals take steps to prevent infection, we must also deal with the modern challenges of antibiotic drug-resistance sources of infection. Despite this challenge, we are working hard to identify, control, and ultimately eliminate hospital-acquired infections.

According to the CDC, the single most important thing a person can do to keep from getting sick and spreading illness to others, protect patient safety, and reduce infection, is to keep hands clean by thorough hand washing.  Furthermore, “Improved Hand Hygiene to Prevent Health Care Associated Infections” is among the Patient Safety Solutions for 2007 promoted by the Joint Commission, Joint Commission International, and World Health Organization as important global healthcare safety challenges. 

St. Mary Medical Center recently launched “Let’s See a Show of Hands – Everyone has a Hand in Patient Safety,” a distinctive quality and patient-safety education program. The aggressive program reinforces awareness in promoting proper hand-washing techniques to prevent the spread of hospital-acquired infections.