Patients in intensive care and other hospital units have a risk of contracting hospital-acquired infections, such as central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI). According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as many as 400,000 CLABSIs occur in hospital settings across the U.S. every year. As a result of CLABSIs, patients’ conditions may worsen, or they may suffer death.
By taking certain precautions, health care providers and patients themselves may help prevent CLABSIs.
Use maximal barriers
When inserting central lines, medical professionals should use the appropriate sterility barriers. To this end, they may wear sterile gloves, face masks, caps and sterile gowns with neck snaps. Additionally, they may use a large sterile drape to completely cover the patient.
Practice proper hand hygiene
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, health care providers may help prevent CLABSIs by practicing recommended hand hygiene. To this end, they may use an alcohol-based hand rub or wash their hands with soap and water any time they must touch patients’ tubing or insertion sites. Patients should also wash their hands frequently, and they may ask visitors to wash their hands when entering and leaving their rooms.
Do not allow touching
For their parts, patients should refrain from touching their central line tubing or insertion sites as much as possible. Further, they may ask any visitors not to touch their central lines to help avoid the potential spread of bacteria or other germs that may cause infections.
Contracting a CLBSI in the hospital may require patients to receive additional treatment and may lengthen their hospital stays; however, the law provides options for them to pursue compensation for their associated losses.