Every year, approximately 80,000 people contract central line-associated bloodstream infections. That’s just the number of people who contract infections in ICUs. When you take entire hospitals into consideration, the actual number of people who contract central line-associated bloodstream infections is close to 250,000 people annually. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health have now released new guidelines for the control and management of these deadly infections.
Among other things, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advocate the following measures for the prevention of bloodstream infections.
Healthcare personnel must be educated about the indications of intravascular infections and the proper procedures for the maintenance and insertion of catheters. The hospital must also undertake a periodic assessment of adherence to these guidelines, and must take care to designate only trained personnel for these activities. Most importantly, several central line-associated bloodstream infections can be traced to staffing shortages in ICUs. Hospitals must take care to address this issue.
Sites for catheter insertion must be identified appropriately. The CDC guidelines detail several recommendations before catheter insertion for both pediatric and adult patients.
Nursing and other health care professionals must improve hand hygiene standards. They must wash hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rubs before and after attending a patient.
Proper procedures must be followed before and after insertion of catheters. Maximum sterile barrier precautions must be followed, including the use of caps, gloves, masks, sterile gowns and body drapes.
Simple and very basic steps like these can substantially reduce the risk of contracting central line-associated bloodstream infections in hospitals. The challenge for many hospitals will be affecting changes in safety cultures, so that these practices can be adopted at all times.