Preventing Central-Line Blood Stream Infections
Sutter Health is working to reduce the number of central-line associated blood stream infections (CLABSIs) in patients being cared for at our affiliated hospitals.
What is a central-line associated blood stream infection?
A CLABSI is a blood stream infection associated with the insertion of a central line—a vascular infusion device that ends at or near the heart or a major blood vessel. These infections are serious and can cause life-threatening complications. They typically occur in patients receiving care in intensive care units, specialty care areas, newborn intensive care units and surgical wards.
CLABSIs can be prevented by following sterile techniques in inserting the central line, changing the surrounding dressing and accessing the central-line port.
How does Sutter Health protect patients?
In 2007, our leaders added CLABSI prevention to Sutter Health’s Clinical Quality Statement, increasing our hospitals’ focus on the reduction of preventable health care associated infections. To reduce the rate of CLABSIs, clinical experts from the Sutter Health network collaborated to identify procedures and products that reduce the risk of this infection. As a result:
- Medical caregivers—especially nurses in intensive care units—have undergone extensive training to heighten awareness of how CLABSIs develop and how they can be prevented.
- Sutter Health works with affiliated hospitals to provide “best practice” prevention strategies recommended by the Institute for Health Care Improvement.
- Councils of nurses from multi-disciplinary areas—known as Partners Advancing Clinical Excellence (PACE)—have been formed at six Sutter-affiliated Bay Area hospitals. One priority for these councils is to analyze the incidences of CLABSI and identify interventions to improve outcomes.
How are we doing?
Throughout the Sutter Health system, the number of blood stream infections for patients with central venous catheters has dropped dramatically. In fact, since CLABSI prevention efforts were addressed systemwide in 2007, an estimated 202 cases have been avoided. This translates to 32 lives saved and $8.2 million in medical expenditures avoided. Other results across our system include:
- An 88 percent reduction in central-line infections at California Pacific Medical Center
- Seven Sutter Health hospitals—Mills Peninsula Health Services, Novato Community Hospital, Memorial Hospital Los Banos, Sutter Davis, Sutter Lakeside, Sutter Santa Rosa, and Sutter Roseville Medical Center—have maintained a rate of zero CLABSIs for 18 months or more.