Archived Story

RMC infections remain low

Published 10:29am Saturday, November 17, 2012

Russell Medical Center has been keeping healthcare acquired infections low, according to the latest numbers released by the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Traci Kelley, infection prevention coordinator for RMC, said that the hospital has better or similar rates than the national average in all four reporting categories.

“It is mandated by the state that we report four categories of healthcare acquired infections – catheter associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI), central line associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI), surgical site infections (SSI) associated with hysterectomies and SSI associated with colon surgeries, ” Kelley said.

These reporting requirements went into effect after a 2009 law. All figures are for 2011 and are the first reported figures since the requirements went into effect.

RMC ranked better than the national average in CAUTI infections, with 3 infections for 5,524 catheter days. RMC was similar to the national average for CLABSI, with 1 infection for 1,151 central line days. RMC was also similar for infections associated with colon surgeries, with 0 reported infections and 41 colon surgeries. For infections associated with hysterectomies, RMC did not have enough surgeries for comparison with the national average, but reported 1 infection and 28 surgeries.

Kelley was happy with the latest numbers.

“This is great news,” Kelley said. “It is really an accomplishment for Alabama.”

Kelley said the hospital takes a number of initiatives to keep infections down.

“Number one thing is our hand hygiene campaign – we make sure everybody knows that they need to wash their hands,” Kelley said.

Hand sanitizing stations are located all over the hospital, Kelley said.

The hospital also sends out a weekly infection dashboard that lets all the hospital’s departments know about any possible infections.

“No department ever wants to be on the infection dashboard,” Kelley said. “Everyone takes initiatives to provide quality care and prevent infections.”

The dashboard is weekly, but Kelley said day to day, the  continuing care team meets to discuss all patients in the hospital.

“At that time, I report about any patients with infections or that have a positive culture for infections so we can put them in isolation (to prevent the infection form spreading),” Kelley said.

Kelley also said the hospital recently participated in a two-year optional program called a Comprehensive Unit Specific Program for CLABSI.

“We put in initiatives set up by John Hopkins,” Kelley said. “According to the data from the project, Alabama reduced CLABSI by 53 percent.”

Kelley said that citizens should visit www.jointhehealthjourney.com for more information on infection control and prevention. The website provides tips on how hospital visitors can play an active role in keeping infections down and also has links to infection rate data.