Albany Medical Center’s Neonatal Intensive
Care Unit (NICU) is the first Level IV
NICU in upstate New York to have completely
eliminated central line-associated bloodstream
infections (CLABSI’s) over a 12-month period.
According to the hospital, the unit also
outperformed the national recommendations
in 2011, with the lowest rates for any of the
18 state Department of Health-designated
regional perinatal centers.
“Reaching this mark reflects Albany Med’s
long-term commitment to achieving quality
benchmarks,” said Dr. Michael Horgan, division
head of neonatology at Albany Med’s Children’s
Central line-associated bloodstream infections are a nationwide problem in neonatal ICUs where babies are vulnerable to infection and often need central lines placed for many weeks or months. Infections occur when the central lines (catheters inserted into the arm or umbilical cord running to major arteries to deliver medicine or nutrition) become contaminated with bacteria, officials said.
Though usually not life-threatening, CLABSI’s are a setback for a baby and for parents who want to get their newborn home, according to hospital physicians.
Albany Med has been using strict maintenance practices to care for central lines since taking part in a 2008 study on CLABSI. The statewide project studied the use of these practices and their overall affect in reducing central line infections. For example, a nurse can only insert a central line in a sterile environment in which the entire room is closed off to visitors and non-essential personnel, the hospital reported.
“We have very complex patients here. Often good nursing is not as visible as this,” said Sue Furdon, neonatal clinical nurse practitioner. “We know our nurses provide excellent care for our patients. This is a concrete example of that.”
“This quality initiative has been in the forefront of our unit discussions and actions for five years now,” she added, citing vigilance on the part of everyone involved in the central line.
“It’s a lot of daily energy around one concept in the total care of the infant.”
“Clearly, the nurses own this,” said Horgan. “They are the ones managing the central lines. It’s up to them. They have taken this on and it’s remarkable.”
The Children’s Hospital at Albany Medical Center is a 125-bed facility devoted exclusively to the medical needs of infants, children and adolescents, and is the referral center for all seriously ill and injured children from 25 counties in upstate New York and western New England.
It is staffed by 110 physicians trained in 34 subspecialties and more than 300 pediatric nurses, therapists, social workers and childlife specialists.