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Columbia study finds hospitals don't follow infection prevention rules
Date:2/6/2014

(NEW YORK, NY, February 6, 2014) While most hospitals have polices in place to prevent health care-associated infections, clinicians often fail to follow evidence-based guidelines established to prevent these infections, according to new research from Columbia University School of Nursing published in the American Journal of Infection Control. The study, the most comprehensive review of infection control efforts at U.S. hospitals in more than three decades, found lax compliance even in intensive care units where patients are more likely to be treated with devices linked to preventable infections such as central lines, urinary catheters and ventilators.

A team led by Patricia Stone, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN, Centennial Professor of Health Policy at Columbia Nursing, investigated compliance with evidence-based policies to prevent infection in 1,653 ICUs at 975 hospitals nationwide. The study focused on three of the most common preventable infections central line-associated bloodstream infections, ventilator-associated pneumonia, and catheter-associated urinary tract infections. Despite decades of research establishing best practices for prevention of these infections, approximately one in 10 hospitals lack checklists to prevent bloodstream infections, and one in four lack checklists to help avoid pneumonia in ventilator patients. Even worse, these checklists are followed only about half of the time, the study found.

"Hospitals aren't following the rules they put in place themselves to keep patients safe," says Stone, who has published extensive research on health care-associated infections and has contributed to prevention guidelines issued by The Joint Commission, which oversees accreditation for U.S. hospitals, nursing homes, and other health facilities. "Rules don't keep patients from dying unless they're enforced."

Health care-associated infections kill an estimated 100,000 Americans a year and create approximately $33 billi
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Contact: Lisa Rapaport
lr2692@cumc.columbia.edu
212-342-3795
Columbia University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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