Appointing dedicated infection control nurses (ICNs) to oversee central line catheter insertions can slash bloodstream infections, according to US researchers.
Nurses on a surgical intensive care unit at a large teaching hospital cut bloodstream infections to zero during a six month period, following the appointment of an ICN, according to study results presented this week at an Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology conference in Baltimore, Maryland.
The University of Maryland Medical Center SICU sustained a rate of zero central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) for a 25-week period, eliminating 14 CLABSIs and saving two to three lives when compared to the same time period in the previous year.
The hospital appointed dedicated ICNs to oversee central line catheter insertions on the 19 bed unit in order to address higher than average CLABSI rates.
An ICN was present during every central line insertion and trained to call out breaks in technique, breaches in hand hygiene and to perform daily assessment of central line dressings, looking for signs of infection.
The unit’s nursing staff, led by the ICN, held daily educational meetings, created incentive programmes to keep the team motivated and removed excess clutter from patient rooms and hallways to ease cleaning.
The initiative took place from July to December 2010.
Co-leader of the improvement project and infection prevention nurse Michael Anne Preas said: “It was truly a back-to-basics effort – these were just best practices at a granular level, led by the unit themselves.
“The nurses on the unit took ownership of best practices and drove the change.”
He added: “When you have one of your own in the lead, and are reminding each other and encouraging each other to do your best, everybody gets on board, and that is what we saw.”