Saint Francis Healthcare Achieves High Ratings for Infection Prevention

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Saint Francis Healthcare has received accolades from prominent healthcare sources for its dramatic reduction in the number of hospital-acquired conditions (HACs) over the past year.

Saint Francis Healthcare has received accolades from prominent healthcare sources for its dramatic reduction in the number of hospital-acquired conditions (HACs) over the past year.

The hospital was lauded on the Kaiser Health News website in December 2016 for having zero catheter-associated urinary tract infections, central line-associated bloodstream infections or MRSA in the intensive care unit as well as one of the lowest Clostridium difficile (C. diff) rates in the state of Delaware.

In its January issue, Consumer Reports gave Saint Francis one of its highest ratings for the system’s drastic reduction in central line-associated bloodstream infections.

Every year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) publishes a list of hospitals across the U.S. with the worst rates of HACs based on six quality measures. Saint Francis Healthcare was not cited on the CMS list in 2015, 2016 and 2017. According to Becker’s Hospital Review, 769 other hospitals in the U.S. made the list in 2017 and will have 1% of their Medicare payments cut.

To achieve such high standards, Saint Francis Health’s infection prevention team revamped its protocols and collaborated with its environmental services department, the first line of defense against HACs.

According to the system’s Infection Prevention Director, Helene M. Paxton, MS, MT (ASCP), PhD, CIC, the C. diff bacterium has a 30%-50% chance of infecting other people even after a room is cleaned. The infection prevention team targeted the stubborn bug using a novel cleaning system that mists an entire room with activated peroxide OH ions. The system kills bacteria and viruses on contact and leaves no residue.

“These devices … will actually reduce the transmission of these organisms remaining on surfaces or hard to reach areas as seen with spray-and-wipe techniques,” Paxton wrote in a blog. “Recent evidence in Delaware hospitals has seen a marked reduction of C. diff with the use of a non-wipe, activated peroxide-based system.”

The infection prevention team replaced old linen curtains in its facilities with disposable curtains that contain disinfectant to prevent visitors or hospital staff from contaminating them. The team also implemented insertion and daily care bundles, a series of steps that everyone involved in patient care at Saint Francis Health takes to prevent central line-associated bloodstream infections and catheter-associated urinary tract infections.

Saint Francis Healthcare, a member of Trinity Health, operates Delaware’s only Catholic hospital serving Wilmington and Northern New Castle County since 1924. Services provided include Partners in CardioVascular Health and Cardiovascular Services, 24-hour Emergency Services, Ambulance Service, Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence, the da Vinci™ Surgical System, Gastroenterology Services, Hematology-Oncology Services, Minimally Invasive Surgery Center, Advanced Wound Center, Imaging Services, Sleep/Neurodiagnostics Center, Home Care, Outpatient Physical Therapy, Comprehensive Women’s Health Services and three community outreach programs. Saint Francis Healthcare is affiliated with the Saint Francis Foundation and Saint Francis LIFE (Living Independently for Elders), a PACE (Program for All-inclusive Care for the Elderly) model.


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Lauren Mancini
since: 11/2008
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