Poll Shows Hospitals Taking Steps to Reduce Hospital-Acquired Infections, Protects Against Risk of Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia

CARY, Ill. -- A recent opinion poll showed that hospitals are taking steps to monitor and reduce the second most common hospital-acquired infection in the United States ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP). Results showed that an overwhelming 85 percent of infection control practitioners who responded indicated that their hospital actively tracks VAP incidence and 80 percent of respondents said that oral hygiene is important to helping to prevent VAP. The poll was conducted by Sage Products Inc. at the annual meeting of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, June 19-23, 2005.

There is an increased focus on national quality improvement, stirred by programs such as the Institute for Healthcare Improvements 100K Lives Campaign, said Scott Brown, senior vice president of Sage Products, Inc. Efforts to reduce VAP and other hospital-acquired infections are increasing in priority.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)s National Nosocomial Infection Surveillance System (NNIS) databases, VAP is a common hospital-acquired bacterial pneumonia that has a mortality rate of 20 to 33 percent and accounts for 60 percent of all deaths due to hospital-associated infections. Additionally, treatment of one incidence of VAP costs a hospital up to $40,000. Routine oral care, among other interventions, can help protect critical-care patients against VAP risk.

Ventilator-associated pneumonia is one of the most prevalent hospital-acquired infections, and it is 100 percent preventable, said Pamela Meyer, RN, manager of critical care at Sherman Hospital in Elgin, Ill. Oral care helped our hospital to reduce VAP rates and avoid $1.6 million in VAP-related costs.

When asked about oral-care efforts, 69 percent of respondents indicated their facility implemented an oral hygiene protocol to address VAP. Of the respondents whose facility had an oral hygiene protocol in place, 83 percent indicated that oral-care tools, such as brushes, swabs and suction devices, are an integral part of their oral hygiene program. Additionally, 36 percent of respondents indicated that their facilitys VAP rate has decreased over the past year.

Source: Sage Products