2 May 2012
Associate Health Minister Jo Goodhew has visited Auckland District Health Board to see two infection prevention and control projects in action.
Millions of patients around the world are affected by infections acquired in health care settings. These infections contribute to deaths and disability, promote resistance to antibiotics, complicate the delivery of patient care, and impose extra costs on health systems.
During the visit, organised by the Health Quality & Safety Commission and Auckland DHB, Mrs Goodhew looked at initiatives in the DHB’s intensive care units to prevent infection associated with the insertion of central line catheters. She also visited one of the wards to hear about hand hygiene improvements.
Mrs Goodhew met with front line clinical staff, as she visited with the Health Quality & Safety Commission’s Deputy Chair, Dr Peter Foley, and Chief Executive, Dr Janice Wilson. Mrs Goodhew has delegated responsibility for the Commission and its work.
Dr Foley says the Commission is working with DHBs to drive significant improvements in New Zealand’s rate of health-acquired infections.
“This is an important part of ensuring that going to hospital – or any other health care setting, for that matter – is both a safe and quality experience for patients,” he says. “There has been some good progress in this area but there is still plenty of room for further improvement across the health and disability sector.”
Dr Foley says the use of catheters to deliver treatment into a patient’s blood stream and monitor their progress is common practice, but creates a potential entry point for infection.
“Of particular concern are blood stream infections caused by central line catheters which are inserted into the blood vessels near the heart. Such infections are known as central line associated bacteraemia or CLAB, and their prevention is vital in the fight against health care-acquired infections.
“CLAB can lead to longer hospital stays and associated problems for patients.”
He says good hand hygiene practices are another important way to prevent hospital-acquired infections.
The WHO has identified five key moments when health workers should perform hand hygiene: