Clinical Care

As we observe Infection Prevention Week there’s cause to celebrate

Our adherence in hand hygiene, aseptic technique and other clean measures are bearing results.


It’s International Infection Prevention Week and time to reflect on all you do every day to keep our patients and staff safe from infectious diseases.

Hand hygiene

This has been a comeback story. Asante has achieved remarkable improvement over the past year to bring us back to 90% adherence. Countless hours of observation and coaching by leaders and quality teams — coupled with the firm commitment of our nurses, clinicians and support teams to clean their hands after the five moments of care and when entering or leaving a patient’s room — are what got us here.

Aseptic technique

Leaders from across the system have taken a critical look at key procedures for adherence to aseptic technique. While not the most scintillating activity, these leaders have ensured that best practices are clearly outlined as how-tos in policies ranging from wound care, to respiratory therapy, imaging, line management and to how to bathe a patient.

These policies remind us that sterile and nonsterile medications, ointments, lotions and creams are single-use only. To that end, leaders have partnered with Purchasing for smaller size options to reduce waste. The policies also have helped increase awareness of tap water that is not sterile and waterborne organisms as we think about our direct care and placing clean supplies away from splash zones.

Clean environment

System efforts are underway to ensure our patients are cared for in a clean and safe setting. The Rooms of Excellence program is systematically refreshing patient rooms from top to bottom, one room at time.

Seeing a fresh new room breeds inspiration, and staff are reporting to their supervisors other areas that need some TLC. Teams are also assessing their spaces to support cleanliness as they work, including keeping clean and dirty items separate.

Hospital Environmental Services teams have partnered to standardize cleaning methodologies, resulting in their first 400-level policy (400-EVS-EVS-0001). A fast facts document for maintaining a clean environment is available now (400-INF-0059). Later this month, the Asante-level policy for Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection 400-IC-IC-0632 will post to myAsanteNET.

Clean equipment and supplies

Units are methodically inventorying their clean storage rooms. They’re getting cardboard, unneeded equipment and dust bunnies out and putting wipeable plastic bins and organizational systems in.

Education and reminders are underway to make sure equipment is wiped with a hospital-approved disinfectant after each use. For larger equipment, Asante is considering a clean/dirty indicator system to make it easy to know an item’s status.

Options for carts specific for transporting and storing linens for point of use were shared with unit leaders and provide a better alternative than an improvised Rubbermaid-style cart at keeping linens covered, always. Coming soon is an Asante-level policy for equipment and supply cleaning and disinfection as a comprehensive summary of these key principles and more.

Focusing on the basics delivers results

It is with baited breath that we share a notable decline in hospital-acquired infections and we’re optimistic that we’ve turned the corner. Even with just five measures of infections, the NHSN HAI metrics are good indicators of directional change and achievement.

Clinical teams’ dedication to the investigational process, identifying successes, opportunities and actions, is inspiring. We are grateful to the teams that report up to the Infection Prevention Committee, escalating concerns for executive intervention and highlighting the wins and successes that let us know we are on the right track.

What’s next

Leaders are partnering to develop strategies to improve identification, communication and isolation precautions for patients with infections. Education will focus on standard precautions, using activity-based PPE and creating a deeper understanding of transmission-based precautions, with increased use of the lookup table to identify what precaution is needed for a given organism (400-INF-0013).

Infection prevention is everyone’s job and from all the efforts highlighted above, Asante knows it. Our many thanks for all you do. The Quality team will be rounding this week at all three hospitals during the day and evening. We’ll bring with us some treats as a small gesture of our appreciation for your commitment. Look for us at ARRMC on Oct. 17, AACH on Oct. 18 and ATRMC on Oct. 19.

Tags: infection prevention, Sadie Spicer, STAT
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