Central line infections, ventilator-acquired pneumonia and sepsis are all life-threatening infections that patients may be exposed to after they have been admitted to the hospital. HHC's two-year-old Critical Care Collaborative is fighting back with expert teams focused on each of these hospital-acquired infections.
The Critical Care team at Lincoln Hospital was among the first to tackle the issue of sepsis, a virulent blood stream infection that implicates internal organs and often leads to septic shock. After several months of implementing best care practices, the mortality rate for severely septic patients dropped from 45 percent to less than 25 percent.
Other HHC facilities are preventing central line infections in patients who are receiving medicines and fluids intravenously by following five steps, including maximal sterile barrier precautions and cleaning the patient's skin with the antiseptic chlorhexidine. By implementing these steps - called a "bundle" - several HHC hospitals have experienced 25 to 50 percent reduction in central line infections and are saving lives.
Another major patient safety intervention used by HHC hospitals is preventing ventilator-acquired pneumonia. By following four steps, including raising the head of the patient's bed between 30 and 45 degrees, Woodhull Hospital's ICU went 18 months without reporting a single case. Five other HHC hospital ICUs reported a record breaking number of months without a single central line infection. The Healthcare Association of New York State honored Queens Hospital Center for its significant reduction in central venous catheter bloodstream infections, citing it as a model for the other hospitals.