What we measure:
Blood is normally a very clean fluid. Any germs (bacteria) that enter the bloodstream can cause a patient to become very sick. Bacteria may enter the bloodstream through the use of central line catheters. We measure the rate of bloodstream infections because that helps us reduce the number of infections and complications that can occur because of the infection.
Why we measure:
A central line catheter is a small plastic tube that is placed into the blood vessels near the heart. In some patients, the catheter is used to deliver important medications, food and nutritional supplements, to draw blood tests, and to monitor blood pressure. Occasionally this catheter can introduce bacteria into the bloodstream resulting in a central line infection. Central line infections cause a patient to become ill. Nationwide Children's Hospital is continuously working to reduce the occurrence of central line infections. A low rate of central line infection can be an indication of the cleanliness and safety of a hospital facility.
How we measure:
Central line infection rate is determined by calculating the number of infections for every 1,000 catheter patient days. One catheter patient day is defined as one patient using a catheter for one day.
How are we improving:
Reducing the central line infection rate is a continuous effort for us. We improved our performance in 2007 by over 50 percent compared to 2006. Our improvement efforts continued through 2008 with an additional 50% reduction in our infection rate by implementing infection prevention "best practices". These best practices included implementation of standardized care "bundles" or ordersets when placing, maintaining, and discontinuing the central lines in the critical care units. In 2009, our central line infection rate remained stable with little further improvement although it is a rate that is among the lowest infection rate in the country. In 2010, we will refocus our infection prevention efforts by expanding the use of the central line "bundles", trialing new prevention techniques, and vigorously promoting hand hygiene.