Thursday, December 5, 2013

Joint Commission Guidelines for Preventing Bloodstream Infections Emphasize Role of Nurses

Guidelines and a toolkit released this week by the Joint Commission highlight the key role nurses play in preventing central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs). CLABSIs are among the most deadly and costly hospital-associated infections, accounting for 31,000 deaths annually and costing the health system an estimated $9 billion. Studies funded by INQRI revealed that nurses can play a key role in preventing these infections.

Patricia Stone, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN, a principal investigator for an INQRI-funded study on the impact of nurse staffing, skill mix, and experience on quality and costs in long-term care, contributed to the new guidelines.  Stone is the Centennial Professor of Health Policy in Nursing at Columbia University School of Nursing.

An INQRI-funded study published last year in Critical Care Medicine found that a nurse-led intervention combining a “bundle” of evidence-based practices with a comprehensive safety program dramatically reduced the mean rate of infections. The study was conducted by David Thompson, DSNc, MSN, RN, and Jill Marsteller PhD, MPP, associate professors at Johns Hopkins University in the School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health, respectively, and by J. Bryan Sexton, PhD, now at the Duke University Health System Patient Safety Center.

“It’s important to note that this was a nurse-led intervention,” Marsteller said. “The units’ success in reducing infections not only demonstrates the effectiveness of the intervention, but also confirms that nurses can have and should play a central role in quality improvement interventions.”

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