Health

Report: Methodist Hospitals Improves Patient Safety

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By: Lakeshore Staff

February 16, 2015 — A new study reports that Methodist Hospitals has substantially improved patient safety by reducing potentially dangerous bloodstream infections.

The study reported on the addition of a disinfection cap that has helped make intravenous (IV) therapy even safer for Methodist patients. The cap protects IV catheters from bacterial contamination when nurses deliver medications and other fluids through a patient’s IV line.

It is standard medical practice for hospital nurses to disinfect the connector hub before delivering fluids, to help prevent bacteria from entering the IV line. Nurses do this by wiping the hub with isopropyl alcohol (IPA). But there is still a risk that an infection can occur, and catheter-related bloodstream infections can sometimes be fatal.

To greatly reduce this danger, Methodist Hospitals added an extra layer of protection to its IV lines in 2011, by requiring the use of an orange-colored disinfection cap called SwabCap. A disinfection cap is a small device that twists on to the external hub of an intravenous connector. IV connectors are
used to link catheters and other devices that deliver intravenous fluids such as medications, nutrition and blood products.

The new study was published in the Summer 2014 issue of the Journal of the Association for Vascular Access (JAVA). The lead researcher and author was Michelle DeVries, MPH, CIC, who is the Senior Infection Control Officer at Methodist Hospitals. Co-authors were Patricia S. Mancos, BS, SM (ASCP), CIC and Mary J. Valentine, MSN, RN, CNS, OCN. Mancos is an infection control officer at Methodist Hospitals, and Valentine is Methodist’s Director of Nursing Professional Development.

The innovative study led by DeVries investigated both central IV lines — which are threaded into the heart to deliver lifesaving medication and other fluids – and peripheral IVs, which are inserted into a vein in the arm. Much of the existing research on this topic focused only on central line infections.

Methodist Hospitals places the cap on both central and peripheral IVs. Most other hospitals using this device only require it for central IV lines. But PIVs are also subject to bloodstream infections, and hospitals place far more PIVs than central lines. “We began using a disinfection cap because we didn’t feel the usual disinfection technique offered sufficient protection for our patients,” DeVries said. “This study shows that the effort to improve patient safety and reduce infections was very successful.”

The research compared a 21-month period after cap use began at Methodist to the 21-month period before the cap was used. The study showed that substantial improvements in patient safety occurred after Methodist started requiring nurses to use the cap:

* 43% drop in infections for patients with peripheral IVs (PIVs)

* 50% drop in infections for patients with central IV lines

* 45% overall drop in infections overall (patients with PIVs plus patients with central lines)

Source: Methodist Hospitals

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