How hospitals can jump-start urological infection prevention measures post COVID-19
Education, standardized procedures can help lower infection rates and promote best practices
By Medline Newsroom Staff | June 2, 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous impact on infection prevention priorities and protocols at hospitals. Last year, a published, informal Twitter survey of infection prevention and epidemiology experts found that 79% were spending 75% of the time previously allocated for infection prevention on COVID-19 response.
With COVID-19 cases declining throughout the U.S., hospitals are now refocusing their infection prevention efforts on catheters and other common procedures. This is especially critical as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) resume penalties for hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). Here are a few tips for institutions looking for ways to reengage their staff on lowering infection rates and promoting best practices.
Take a fresh look at clinician education
Without the continuing focus on infection education, HAI rates inevitably climbed during the pandemic, with one study highlighting a 179% increase in a hospital’s rate of catheter associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) during COVID-19. Now that clinicians have a chance to catch their breath, it may be time to take a fresh look at your HAI prevention measures. One option may be to consider a comprehensive strategy like Medline’s Urological Solution that empowers frontline staff to make CAUTI prevention second nature through best practice guidance, education and products. This clinical solution includes 24 months of facility-led, pre-built education that builds sustainable knowledge to help fight CAUTIs and keep patient safety top of mind.
“Even the most diligent clinician can fall into bad habits without opportunities to step back and reassess their processes,” says Mary Pat Eble, MSN, RN, national clinical product specialist, urological division for Medline. “Ongoing education, along with monthly staff huddles, periodic check-ins and visual reminders, can help get a team in synch and eliminate human variance.”
Standardize wherever possible
Variety is not the spice of life when it comes to patient safety. In fact, human variability is a big problem when it comes to all types of HAIs, including catheter-related infections. Cross contamination is always a threat when it comes to inserting catheters, and if each person on staff has their own process, there’s a greater chance of infection.
When reengaging with staff around HAIs, take some time to reinforce standardized processes so clinicians are performing delicate tasks in a uniform and safe way. Certain products may actually help reinforce standardization. Medline’s single-layer Foley catheter tray, for example, was designed by nurses with the specific goal of helping reduce human variance and the chance of cross contamination. The trays are intuitively designed to guide clinicians through the insertion process in a way that promotes both standardization and patient safety. In general, look out for differentiated products like the single-layer tray that reinforce your standardization goals.
Fighting hospital acquired infections is a continuous battle, and it’s important that administrators and leaders give their staff the education and tools they need to help keep patients safe.