print

Lowering Infection Rates in Hospitals: May 20, 2011

It’s a serious problem across the country. Hospital-based infections are costing a quarter of the people who get them their lives, and escalating the cost of healthcare.

It’s the last thing anyone expects when they are seriously ill. To contract a hospital-acquired infection, but nationwide it happens an estimated 1.7 million times a year."

"Hospital related infections are extraordinarily detrimental to the patient and can lead to many, many deaths," says Dr. Marilyn Kole who is the System Medical Director of Specialty Care Services.

Most hospital-acquired infections are blood stream infections, introduced through IV catheters that deliver medication, nutrition and fluids to patients in the ICU. Anything that pierces the skin can be a potential source of infection.

Lee Memorial Health System is using a comprehensive, team approach in attacking these central line infections. They created a checklist clarifying everything from how and when gowns and masks should be worn, how long IV’s should stay in place, even basic hand washing. Their efforts have paid off.

"We’re very proud of our record here at having extended periods of time, more than two years without a central line infection in some of our units and that’s almost unheard of," says Steve Streed, Director of Hospital Epidemiology.

In recognition of their efforts, Lee Memorial was awarded a first-ever distinction from the U.S. Department of Human Services for achievements in eliminating potentially deadly infections.