Keeping Patients Safe by Preventing Hospital Infections
An article in this week’s edition of Business Week highlights the challenges of treating patients in the ICU who contract pneumonia. While the thrust of the article is largely about the debate over the best course of treatment, doctors and the clinical team at Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center are proving that prevention is the truly best medicine. This month marks seven consecutive years with not a single case of Ventilator Associated Pneumonia (VAP).
100,000 hospital deaths each year are the direct result of hospital acquired infections, which nationally are on the rise. Hospital acquired infections not only compromise the health of the patient, but they add to the costly provision of care. Some estimates say that these infections add between 4.5 and 5.7 billion dollars to the annual cost of healthcare in this country.
A systematic approach
Sentara has worked for many years to measure, in real time, hospital infection rates across all its ICUs and apply proven medical best practices to reduce the incidence in its facilities. Not only is Sentara seeing significant reductions of hospital acquired infections in its facilities, several of its hospitals are marking one or more years with zero infections that at one time were considered an inevitable part of providing care.
For Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center, seven years without a VAP is a statistic that no other hospital in the country can claim.
Teamwork and consistency
When asked how it is done, lead intensivist physician Dr. John Kaiser points to consistent treatment and teamwork when caring for ventilator patients. By consistently implementing a care “bundle” of procedures for patients, Sentara Williamsburg effectively has involved physicians, nurses and respiratory therapists as part of the team. The approach to intensive care at Sentara Williamsburg includes the use of full time, dedicated intensivist physicians who are on site daily and available on call around the clock. All of these practices are reinforced by the eICU remote monitoring system that has been in place since (year).
This best practice has made a real difference for ICU patients.
“We take our work very seriously and believe that every component is necessary to maintain the level of care our community has come to expect,” Kaiser adds. “When you are dealing with the sickest patient population, compromise is never an option.”
Additional infection statistics for Sentara Williamsburg include:
- Blood Stream Infection: none since March 2007 (soon to be 4 years)
- Urinary Tract Infection: none since January 2009 (2 years)
- Sepsis Mortality less than expected: 16% YTD Jan-Nov 2010
For more health information and the latest press releases, go to the Sentara news page on Sentara.com