APIC Leads Effort to Eliminate Bloodstream Infections


The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) today announced a major initiative to eliminate one of the most preventable and deadly infections that patients can acquire in healthcare facilities: central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs), which kill 30,000 people in the U.S. every year.

APIC, along with the Association for Vascular Access (AVA) and the Infusion Nurses Society (INS) unveiled a new website [http://CLABSI.APIC.org] for healthcare professionals to drive the adoption of best practices to eliminate CLABSIs. The website brings together educational materials and guidance on preventing these infections.

CLABSIs occur if bacteria enter through a catheter, infecting the bloodstream. Intravascular catheters are long, thin, flexible tubes inserted into a vein that lead to the heart and are used to give medication, supply nutrition, or monitor blood flow.

The CLABSI.APIC.org website is a part of APICs "I Believe in Zero CLABSIs" campaign, in which infection preventionists are urged to lead efforts to eliminate these infections in their facilities. A virtual toolkit for health professionals, the site offers educational materials, webinars, advice from leading experts, guidance documents from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other authorities, as well as APICs Guide to the Elimination of Catheter-Related Bloodstream Infections, which translates evidence-based findings into practical, implementable solutions.

Among the practical resources included on the site are information on how to correctly insert a central line catheter, how to conduct surveillance for possible infections and how to promote the sort of cultural change in hospitals and outpatient centers that will prevent CLABSIs in the future. The website also includes a 20-question quiz to test professionals on what they know about properly inserting a central line.

"The new online toolkit represents an important collaboration of leading experts and offers the definitive resources for CLABSI reduction in one convenient place," says APIC 2011 president Russell Olmsted, MPH, CIC, an epidemiologist in infection prevention and control services at St. Joseph Mercy Health System in Ann Arbor, Mich. "We urge every infection preventionist to make the pledge to prevent CLABSIs and begin utilizing the resources presented on this site."

A 2010 survey of infection preventionists conducted by APIC found that hospitals still struggle to prevent CLABSIs. Added financial incentives from the federal government will prompt hospitals to increase measures to eliminate these infections. Starting this year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) requires that hospitals who participate in Medicare report the number and rate of adult intensive care unit patients who acquire CLABSIs, or risk losing 2 percent of their Medicare payments. Reduction of CLABSIs is also a goal of the Department of Health and Human Services Healthcare-Associated Infection (HAI) Action Plan.

"CLABSIs claim the lives of 30,000 Americans annually, which is equivalent to ten times the number of people who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks," says Peter Pronovost, MD, PhD, FCCM, lead clinical advisor of APICs CLABSI initiative and professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "Polio killed thousands of Americans each year, and was eradicated in the U.S. through the dedication and focus of the medical community. We need to apply that same focus to eliminate CLABSIs."

The development of CLABSI.APIC.org was made possible with the support of an unrestricted educational grant from Bard Access Systems, Inc.

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