18 Jun 2015 | Infection Prevention & Control
Central lines are a special type of intravenous line that is inserted directly into a patient’s central neck vein. They are a great help in the clinical management of very sick patients however extra care is needed to make sure they are inserted under strict sterile conditions, says Bay of Plenty District Health Board's Quality and Patient Safety Co-ordinator Lorraine Wilson.
Microbes that can cause Central Line Associated Bacteraemia (CLAB) infections can gain access to the blood stream of vulnerable patients during the insertion procedure. Likewise, it is important that central lines are well maintained and assessed for everyday use.
“Like other district health boards across New Zealand in the past, we didn’t know what our rate of CLAB infection was, although we suspected it was low. So we developed three important strategies to support best practice and to identify our progress,” says Lorraine.
“These strategies have now been in place for a while, so we can be confident when we say we have a very low CLAB rate. In addition, on 10 May 2015 we marked the fifth year that our district health board has been CLAB free. As well as being a great patient safety outcome, this result is the envy of many district health boards both in New Zealand and in other countries, and is to the credit of our staff.
“We introduced standardised insertion procedure packs designed specifically to support best practice and to make it more difficult to do the wrong thing. Packs and safety checklists later became standardised across New Zealand, as part of the Health Quality & Safety Commission’s national programme, meaning that someone inserting a central line, anywhere in New Zealand, will always be supported in a shared understanding and approach to best practice.” says Lorraine.