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Infection prevention analysis could identify progress areas

March 07, 2014

A recent study, published in the American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC) - the official publication of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) - has highlighted how hospitals could improve standards.

It suggested that, by identifying the areas where there are gaps in infection prevention, healthcare workers could better reduce incidents, such as needlestick injuries and other events that can lead to the transmitting blood-borne pathogens.

Ascension Health surveyed more than 71 of its member hospitals to evaluate how effective infection control processes are for a number of procedures that involve the use of needlesticks or other medical sharps.

The research asked the healthcare organisations about their policies for placement and maintenance of devices, surgical procedures, evaluation of healthcare workers’ competencies, and outcomes evaluation. 
 
According to the survey results, the majority of hospitals had infection prevention policies in place for a number of scenarios, including the use of medical devices and surgery. However, it highlighted that only 39.4 per cent had efficient policies in place for other, less-publicised, areas of infection control such as antimicrobial stewardship.
 
The study also found that the standard of practices to reduce the risk of medical devices, varied heavily between hospitals. In some instances, for example, it was found that devices were more available in medium and large hospitals compared to smaller ones. 

In addition, the study also found that the necessary training wasn't always given. Although more than three-quarters of hospitals had protocol for determining need for a urinary catheter, only a minority of nurses (26.8 per cent) and patient care technicians (11.3 per cent) received training on an annual basis.  
 
To reduce the risk of CLABSI, 94.4 per cent of hospitals reported using a checklist to ensure devices were inserted correctly. However, according to the study, only 59.2 per cent used the checklist more than 90 per cent of the time, while just 40.8 per cent provided annual training for nurses on placing and maintaining venous catheters. 

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