Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) spiked during COVID-19 and remain high, according to new Hospital Safety Grade data from The Leapfrog Group, with central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) showing the greatest increase—60% in late 2021 and 2022, compared with data obtained before the pandemic.
CLABSIs are linked to a 2.27-fold increased risk for mortality and greater health costs, according to the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology. The good news is that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says up to 70% of CLABSIs are preventable, when readily available, evidence-based strategies are implemented.
So how can healthcare systems start to move the needle?
‘Show a little grace’ and focus on the future
“First, I think we have to show a little grace,” said Donna Matocha, DNP, MSN, RN, CNRN, VA-BC, Medline manager of clinical services. High HAIs, and CLABSI rates in particular, reflect rapidly changing infection control restrictions during the pandemic, ongoing staff shortages and turnover, and the burden of caring for so many sick patients, all in need of central lines.