Infections have been described as public enemy number one at Hutchinson Regional Medical Center and a recent report issued by Hospital Compare, part of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services confirms that our constant efforts are producing positive results.
A column in Consumer Reports states the public would like to assume that hospitals are sterile safety zones but, in truth, healthcare facilities are ground zero for the invasion of disease causing bacteria that may be life threatening and difficult to stop. Hutch Regional takes this fight seriously and we are producing positive results.
The Hospital Compare report shows that Hutch Regional is 83% below the state average and 80% below the national average in instances of intestinal infections and 30% below the state average and 31% below the national average in urinary tract infections. Fighting bloodstream infections is a high priority and Hutch Regional ranks 2% below the state average and slightly above national figures in the success rate of accomplishing that objective. A total of 18% more patients receive appropriate care at HRMC for severe sepsis and septic shock compared to the state average while 23% more patients receive appropriate care as compared to the national average.
Also, there have been no Cath Lab related infections at Hutch Regional for more than a year nor have there been any blood infections caused by MRSA for the past 14 months. No hip and knee related infections have been reported for the past 27 months and 17 months respectively.
Hutch Regional has intensified its efforts to maintain the highest standards for infection control. Our goals involve employees at all levels alongside patients, families and loved ones who visit the hospital.
- We installed machines to de-contaminate rooms.
- Lab technicians are specially trained and equipped to rapidly diagnose infections so that patients dealing with infections can be transferred to other parts of the hospitals to isolate them from the general population.
- Maintain strict hygiene for Hutch Regional employees, physicians and visitors. Infection control is a return to the basics. Hand washing stations are available in every patient room, cafeteria, and throughout the hospital. Staff is instructed to disinfect their hands upon entering and when departing a patient’s room. A strict adherence to this policy has been proven to slash the infection rate by as much as 50 percent. Visitors to Hutch Regional are reminded through posters to participate in the “foam in foam out” hand hygiene campaign.
- Although the infection rate at Hutch Regional is low, one infection is one too many. Every infection that is diagnosed is reviewed by a team of infection and quality experts who analyze how and why the infection occurred, and how to prevent it from repeating. These constant reviews have been very beneficial in maintaining our low infection rates.
- The hospital holds regular meetings with physicians and staff to brainstorm new strategies to combat and reduce infections.
- At every step of treatment, our physicians and staff use antibiotics appropriately so patients receive the right drug at the right time, in the right dose.
Infection control extends far beyond the hospital campus into the community.
Anyone who has been hospitalized may have been exposed to potentially dangerous bacteria. Upon discharge, patients should watch for any signs of the onset of infections including fever, diarrhea, worsening pain, or an incision site that becomes warm, red, and swollen. Consumer Reports says that people 65 years of age and older and infants may experience a higher risk for infections after discharge from a hospital.
Following strict observance of hygiene is recommended for patients of all ages when returning home from a hospital stay. If you or someone you live with is diagnosed with a hospital-acquired infection after discharge from a hospital, take extra precautions to make sure that it doesn’t spread. Clean frequently touched surfaces with one part bleach to ten parts water. Assign a bathroom for use only by the infected person and if that is not possible, use the bleach solution to disinfect surfaces between uses.
The healthcare professionals employed at Hutch Regional deserve commendation for achieving results that are better than state and national averages. Providing the safest environment for our patients is our number one goal as we continue our fight to rid Hutchinson Regional Medical Center of infections that, in some cases, may be life threatening.