HYMC and ERMH Catheter-Related Bloodstream Infection Rates at All Time Low

Howard Young Medical Center and Eagle River Memorial Hospital are pleased to announce there have been no Catheter-Related Bloodstream Infections in over a year, according to Christine Brost, RN, Infection Control Specialist.

A central venous catheter is a long, flexible catheter that treads through a large vein to the heart and can be placed in the neck, chest or groin. Unless the strictest sterile conditions are observed, a Catheter-Related Bloodstream Infection can occur when different people touching the line or the skin surrounding it introduce bacterial contamination.

While there have been no infections at Howard Young Medical Center and Eagle River Memorial Hospital in over a year, this is a common infection at other hospitals throughout the country that accounts for 15 percent of all hospital acquired infections (HAIs) and are responsible for at least 30 percent of the 99,000 annual hospital infection related deaths. HAIs are a top priority for hospitals everywhere, as staff are continually fighting new germs that are resistant to antibiotics, while seeing the sickest patients - the elderly, the intensively ill, and the young whose immune systems have been compromised and may be most susceptible to germs.

When best practices are utilized by staff, the vast majority of central line infections can be avoided.

“Our staff takes great pride and is diligent in following the best practices to help avoid infections,” said Sheila Clough, President, Howard Young Health Care. “I am proud of their ongoing work and dedication, and their commitment to each patient.”

Patients are encouraged to ask their provider if they washed their hands with soap and water or an alcohol based solution before touching the patient, as stated on posters throughout the hospital. They should also don sterile gloves before touching any catheters and check the dressings.

“Wisconsin hospitals, including Ministry Health Care hospitals, work together in a number of initiatives to help identify, control and minimize the risk to patients of Hospital Acquired Infections,” said Clough. “Wisconsin recently acquired a federal grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to implement Hospital Acquired Infection prevention programs. The steering committee for this program includes representation from several hospitals, including Howard Young Health Care.”

Wisconsin is the first state in the country to start a collaborative aimed at reducing infections associated with central lines.

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