12 Nov 2014 | Infection Prevention & Control
Wanganui Hospital’s Critical Care Unit’s focus on prevention of central line associated bacteria (CLAB) and rigorous hygiene, has resulted in picc lines, central lines and portocaths being free of bacteria for 1030 days in a row.
Whanganui District Health Board (DHB) Critical Care Unit clinical nurse coordinator Jo Vigenser says while Wanganui Hospital has less people requiring these types of lines than other hospitals, to reach 1030 days with no incidents is a significant milestone for any hospital and the staff involved. Bacteria in lines can cause life threatening blood infections.
“When you consider that some patients requiring long-term medications or liquid food have a line inserted in their arm, neck or chest for many weeks, it says a great deal about the professionalism of our clinical staff that no bacteria has entered these lines for close to three years,” Mrs Vigenser says.
“It’s all about staff making sure they follow the strict standardised procedures we have in place to prevent bacteria entering lines. It begins from the moment the line is inserted. We use a checklist which includes rigorous hand washing, and staff making sure they keep everything sterile, including their clothing. Once the line is in, every staff member charged with caring for it must wash their hands thoroughly before touching both the line and the port where we administer medication through the line. ‘Scrub the hub’ is the mantra staff use to remind themselves to clean the line thoroughly.”
Mrs Vigenser says patients should feel able to remind staff working with their lines to wash their hands properly and to ‘scrub the hub’.
“Every patient, whether they have a line or not, has the right to ask or remind staff to wash their hands. We’re very proud that in June of this year, Whanganui DHB scooped the Hand Hygiene Quality Improvement Award 2014 for a DHB with fewer than 300 acute inpatient beds, or fewer than 1750 hand hygiene moments for national hand hygiene auditing.
“Our clinical staff are committed to continually working towards improving their hand hygiene performance. We view our Hand Hygiene Quality Improvement Award and Wanganui Hospital’s status as CLAB free for 1030 as evidence our efforts are working.”
The CLAB programme is a collaborative effort involving every critical care unit in the country.