Awards to Recognize Best Practices in Reducing and Eliminating HAIs

Teams of critical care professionals and healthcare institutions with a record of reducing or eliminating healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are encouraged to submit their best practices to a national awards program.

Now in its second year, the annual awards program recognizes teams of critical care professionals and healthcare institutions that show excellence, leadership and notable, sustained improvements in preventing HAIs, specifically infections of critically ill patients.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, Office of Healthcare Quality (HHS), partnered with the Critical Care Societies Collaborative (CCSC) a multidisciplinary organization composed of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, American College of Chest Physicians, American Thoracic Society and Society of Critical Care Medicine to launch the awards program in 2010.

Earlier this year, HHS recognized the inaugural set of hospital and healthcare organizations for their efforts to prevent HAIs, which patients acquire while receiving medical treatment for other conditions.

In the spring of 2012, up to eight awards will be conferred in two categories according to specific criteria aligned with national standards:
- HHS and CCSC Award for Outstanding Achievement and Leadership in Eliminating Central Line-Associated Bloodstream Infections
- HHS and CCSC Award for Outstanding Achievement and Leadership in Eliminating Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia

Award recipients will have demonstrated success in reducing and eliminating central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) and ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) for 25 months or longer and shown national leadership in sharing their evidence-based initiatives to help improve clinical practice.

Applications for the 2012 awards are due by Dec. 19, 2011. Visit AACNs award site (http://www.aacn.org/haiawards2012) for complete details on eligibility, selection criteria and application requirements. AACN will coordinate nominations and selections for the 2012 award cycle.

AACNs director of communications and strategic alliances, Ramón Lavandero, RN, MA, MSN, FAAN, notes the potential impact of the awards program. We developed this awards program to identify best practices in patient care, clinical practice and internal processes so the healthcare community can achieve wide-scale reduction and long-term elimination of healthcare-associated infections, he says. Through sharing what works, by the end of 2013 we hope to decrease preventable HAIs by 40 percent and save upward of 60,000 lives.

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