Preventing infection bin multiple health care settings

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Nurse Staffing and Infection RatesMost of the direct patient care in hospitals is conducted by nurses, so they are most closely linked to control of HAIs. Previous research has found associations between increased HAIs and lower levels of nurse staffing, but these studies were complicated by inconsistent results, lack of appropriate controls, and aggregated data. Drs. Larson, Shang, Stone and colleagues conducted an analysis of staffing and HAI in a large urban hospital system, building on previous studies while providing greater data consistency. The researchers used a dataset of over 100,000 patients, of which more than 4 percent developed an HAI during hospitalization. They found that patients on units with understaffing of nurses had an 11–15 percent greater risk for HAI compared to patients on units with adequate staffing.The study’s results corroborate that understaffing is associated with increased risk of HAIs and highlights the significant impact nurse understaffing can have on patient outcomes.Preventive Practices and InfectionsPatients hospitalized in an intensive care unit (ICU) frequently need a specialized, surgically implanted intravenous catheter, or central line, for the delivery of fluids, nutrition, and medications. Central line-associated bloodstream infections are recognized as a grave risk to hospitalized patients, so several health care organizations have promoted a group of five evidence-based interventions, known as a central line bundle, to reduce the incidence of these infections. Drs. Stone and Larson, along with their colleagues, conducted a survey of 984 ICUs in 632 hospitals across the United States and found that following even one of the five evidence-based interventions could reduce these infections. Unsurprisingly, the greatest reduction in infections in intensive care units was seen when all five interventions were followed.These findings identify practices that could lead to fewer central-line bloodstream infections and better patient outcomes.