At Novant Health, we support the nationwide effort to ensure that patients coming into the hospital with specific conditions receive recommended care. These recommendations are based on years of research on interventions that have been proven to improve outcomes for these conditions.
Infection prevention refers to activities performed to reduce the risk of infections. Although infection prevention is a long-standing activity for hospitals, it does not have well-established national benchmarks to use for quality comparisons. We follow CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines for the identification and public reporting of infections. We have many focused activities aimed at reducing infections in our facilities, including:
- Promotion of hand hygiene compliance with staff, patients and family members/guests
- Screening patients for MRSA and VRE
- Identifying patients with these infections and taking appropriate action
- Using CDC-recommended guidelines to prevent the spread of infection from one patient to another
- Ongoing staff education and training
We continually monitor our hospitals and staff performance of infection prevention tactics to look for improvement opportunities. Our goal is to have the lowest possible infection rates.
In fact, Novant Health staff and physicians dramatically lowered the methicillian-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection rate in our hospitals by 69 percent, earning Novant the national Ernest A. Codman award from The Joint Commission. We've shared our materials and knowledge with thousands of hospitals and healthcare organizations in the U.S. and 80 countries around the world through our public website, www.WashingHandsSavesLives.org.
Hand washing is the number one way to prevent the spread of illness. This is why Novant Health promotes good hand hygiene, which means care givers should wash hands with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before and after each patient contact.
Methicillin-resistant staph aureus (MRSA) is a bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics and is a common cause of hospital-acquired infections.
Vancomycin-resistant enteroccocci (VRE) bacteria can cause infections in patients who are in a weakened state. This could include patients undergoing chemotherapy, patients who recently had a complicated surgery or are using invasive devices such as a catheter. Like MRSA, this bacteria has become resistant to common antibiotics.
Clostridium difficile, often called C. difficile or "C. diff," is a bacterial infection of the intestines. It can cause symptoms ranging from diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation of the colon.