Every day, clinicians strive to standardize protocols that can help keep patients safe and prevent infection. But during a hectic shift, even practicing proper hand hygiene can be a challenge. For example, on a recent hospital visit to observe nurses changing central venous catheter dressings, Vincent Tessitore, Medline Clinical Resource Manager, Critical Care, was quick to lather up every time he entered and left a patient’s room. Two days and about 100 hand washings later, his dry, chapped hands were evidence of his good practice. But what was surprising, “I didn’t see other clinicians with the same problem,” Tessitore says.
Tessitore knows he probably caused the irritation by scrubbing too much. But as a Clinical Resource Manager, he wants to set a high bar for fellow clinicians. We have to “follow what we preach” to help reduce practice variation and lower the risk of infection, he explains.
Hand hygiene is key to reducing cross-contamination in a healthcare setting and one of several best practices that help prevent catheter-associated bloodstream infections (CABSIs). But busy shifts, multiple patients to manage and different levels of training can lead to inconsistent practice and an increased risk of infection. The result: more than 30,000 central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) occur annually in intensive care units of acute care facilities.1