|April 27, 2009||Peter Phelps
Marketing Services (269) 966-8131
Preventing a common infection with an 'ounce' of rules
If someone were to ask you to name half a dozen things that Benjamin Franklin invented, could you? You might get bifocals and the lightning rod on your list, and perhaps the Franklin stove, maybe the library chair, and even swim fins and Daylight Saving Time. But there is another invention, which is commonly used in health care that might not make your list, but should. The catheter.
The man known for flying a kite in an electrical storm also is credited with inventing the flexible urinary catheter to help his ailing brother. Perhaps he was thinking of that discovery when he coined the phrased: "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
In medicine, a catheter is a tube that is inserted in the body to remove or to inject fluids, or for access of surgical instruments. In this case, a catheter is used to drain urine from the bladder.
Because urinary tract infections are so common, Trinity Health of which Battle Creek Health System is a part has worked hard to find a way to reduce those complications for its patients. That compassionate and innovative spirit was present during the design of Trinity's latest set of catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) rules, slated for activation this spring. This program is part of Genesis, a state-of-the-art computer system at BCHS that standardizes clinical information including physician order entry, online patient documentation, electronic medical records, and adverse drug event alerts
The CAUTI protocol will help BCHS nurses and physicians further prevent inpatients from getting catheter-related infections, a longstanding challenge in the health care setting.
"Urinary tract problems are the most commonly acquired hospital infections, with more than 75 percent directly attributed to urinary catheters remaining in place too long," says Ann Pelisser Neeld, BCHS vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer. "In fact, recent studies indicate that about 15 percent of inpatients nationally will develop a CAUTI during some point of their hospital stay. We think that is too high and are working on eliminating those infections."
The 'toll' from this includes
occurrences of bacteria in the blood and sepsis (whole-body infections) in a small percentage of patients, occurrences of nonbacterial urethral inflammation, and increased length-of-stay for the patient which translates into increased costs. For the health care provider, Medicare and Medicaid is no longer reimbursing them for CAUTIs acquired in the hospital.
As a result of this new CAUTI process, nurses will be
notified when catheters have been in place longer than
48 hours and they will be directed to consider removing
catheters for patients who meet certain pre-specified
"This new protocol will go a long way in aiding the prevention of CAUTIs," adds Heather West, patient care services manager and the nurse leader for this project. "It's exciting to see how our established technology can be leveraged to increase patient safety and quality of care here at BCHS."
So the next time you see a picture of Ben Franklin with his bifocals resting on his nose, or feel the warmth of a fire coming from that cast iron stove named in his honor, keep in mind that his inventiveness also helped provide more than an 'ounce' of comfort for those in the hospital.
Battle Creek Health System, sponsored by two parent organizations--Trinity Health (the fourth largest Catholic health system in the U.S. with 21 hospitals, 9 nursing homes, 19 senior house facilities, 8 home health care agencies, and 4 hospices in Michigan alone) and BCHS Community Partners, is accredited by the Joint Commission. Battle Creek Health System is a recipient of the 2008 HealthGrades Orthopaedic Surgery Excellence Award(tm) and 2009 Five Star rated for joint replacement surgery and total knee replacement. HealthGrades is a leading health care information company that provides objective 'report card' ratings nationwide. BCHS provides excellent health care for the community and promotes wellness for the whole person with access and compassion for all. For the latest medical information, visit the BCHS web site at www.bchealth.com or call the BCHS Marketing Department at (269) 966-8132.
Patient Safety Initiatives at BCHS
Blood Glucose Testing
Rapid Response Team