ICUs Show Uneven Compliance With Infection Prevention Policies

U.S. intensive care units show various levels of adherence to evidence-based infection prevention regulations, according to an article in the American Journal of Infection Control.

Researchers at New York City-based Columbia University collaborated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to survey more than 1,500 ICUs nationwide as part of the Prevention of Nosocomial Infections and Cost Effectiveness Refined study. The ICU survey measured implementation of 16 point-of-care infection prevention measures, including several related to prevention of central line-associated bloodstream infections, ventilator-associated pneumonia and catheter-associated urinary tract infections, several of the most common hospital-acquired infections in ICUs.

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The proportion of ICUs with infection prevention policies in place for these infections varied. Depending on the way the measure was analyzed, between 87 and 97 percent of ICUs had CLABSI-prevention policies. Between 69 and 91 percent had policies for VAP prevention, and between 27 and 68 percent had CAUTI prevention policies in place.

Adherence for these policies was poor, with CLABSI prevention adherence between 37 and 71 percent, VAP prevention adherence between 45 and 55 percent and CAUTI prevention adherence between just 6 and 27 percent.

Researchers concluded simply having infection prevention policies is not sufficient for infection control, and ICUs must find ways to engage their clinicians in adhering to infection prevention strategies for the most common ICU-acquired infections.

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