9 Statistics on the State of Infection Prevention in NHSN Hospital ICUs

Presence of and adherence to evidence-based infection control policies for healthcare-associated infections in adult intensive care units varies greatly, according to a study published in the American Journal of Infection Control.

The National Healthcare Safety Network conducted a survey of its member hospitals, except for Veterans Affairs, and gathered data on infection prevention and control practices across the country. Here are nine statistics on the state of infection prevention in NHSN hospitals' ICUs as determined by the survey.

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1. About 34 percent of hospitals reported having an electronic surveillance system as part of their infection prevention and control efforts.

2. On average, there were 1.2 infection preventionists per 100 ICU beds.

3. Infection preventionists reported spending 15.8 percent of their time working on infection control surveillance and 6.7 percent of their time on teaching.

4. The presence of evidence-based infection control policies for central line-associated blood stream infections in adult intensive care units ranged from 87 percent regarding checking daily lines to 97 percent regarding applying chlorhexidine at the catheter insertion site.

5. Adherence to CLABSI policies ranged from 37 percent for checking the daily line to 71 percent for applying chlorhexidine at the insertion site.

6. The presence of policies regarding ventilator-associated pneumonia in adult ICUs ranged from 69 percent regarding applying chlorhexidine mouth care to 91 percent regarding elevating the head of the bed.

7. Adherence to VAP policies ranged from 45 percent for interrupting sedation periods to 55 percent for deep venous thrombosis prophylaxis.

8. Catheter-associated urinary tract infection policies were the least common in adult ICUs, with only 27 percent posting policies regarding nurse-initiated urinary catheterization and 68 percent posting portable bladder ultrasound protocols.

9. Adherence to CAUTI policies ranged from 6 percent for using condom catheters to 27 percent for using a catheter stop order.

Researchers suggest the low infection preventionist ratio is insufficient, especially given the complexity of infection prevention in hospitals today. Additionally, they say more focus is needed on CAUTI prevention, given the low adherence results.

Researchers also say they will continue to monitor trends and, in the future, study the relationship between infection prevention and control efforts, HAI rates and policy adherence.

More Articles on Infection Control:

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IU Health Links Deaths to Possible Pathogens in Water Supply

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