Friday, January 9, 2015

Preventing Hospital Acquired Infections among Elderly ICU Patients Reduces Death Risk, Saves Money

Elderly patients who develop hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) while in intensive care units (ICU) are approximately 35 percent more likely to die within five years than other patients, according to a new study co-authored by INQRI grantee Patricia Stone.

The most common HAIs are bloodstream infections caused by central lines and pneumonia caused by ventilators, reports Advanced Healthcare Network for Nurses. Decreasing the incidents of these two HAIs alone could increase the odds that ICU patients survive, and reduce health care costs by more than $150,000, according to Stone’s study.

Stone and her colleagues examined outcomes for 17,537 Medicare patients over a five year period and found that while 57 percent of all the elderly ICU patients had died, nearly 80 percent of patients who developed HAIs during their ICU stays died.

"Any death from preventable infections is one too many," Stone tells Advanced. "We've known for decades what works to prevent infections and save lives. Now, our study shows just how much money can be saved by investing in prevention."

The paper, "A decade of investment in infection prevention: A cost-effectiveness analysis," was published in the January 2015 issue of the American Journal of Infection Control and was funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research.

Reducing central line infections was the focus of an INQRI-funded study led by David Thompson and Jill Marsteller. Their study, involving 45 intensive care units in 35 hospitals in 12 states, tested a nurse-led intervention that used a bundle of evidence-based practices to reduce infections. The intervention was successful in significantly reducing infections and also highlighted the importance of promoting a culture of safety and communication. It also established that nurses should play a central role in quality improvement interventions.

Patricia Stone’s INQRI-funded project: “The Impacts of Nurse Staffing, Skill Mix, and Experience on Quality and Costs in Long-Term Care” examined whether there is a causal relationship between nursing input and patient outcomes in long-term care (LTC) facilities.

The full Advanced article is available here.

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