Inexpensive measures can help prevent hospital infections

Three inexpensive interventions can help to reduce hospital acquired infections, reduce length of stay, and improve patient mortality, according to a study in Health Affairs.

For the study, researchers implemented three interventions in a pediatric intensive care unit at the University of North Carolina.  The interventions were enforcing strict hand hygiene, bundling  measures of ventilator patients which included raising the head of the bed and providing daily oral care to prevent ventilator-associated pneumonia, and ensuring compliance with guidelines for central-line catheters which include using antiseptic sponges and performing two assessments per day for all central-line patients.

The results showed that patients who received all interventions were discharged two days earlier, had fewer complications, lower mortality, and the cost of their stay averaged $12,000 less than patients who received care before the interventions were in place. The study concludes that strict adherence to these guidelines can improve outcomes and save money.

(Source: Patient Safety Monitor Alert, http://www.hcpro.com, September 14, 2011; Health Affairs, http://content.healthaffairs.org, September 2011; UNC Press Release, http://news.unchealthcare.org/news, September 8, 2011)