February 18, 2009
But More Work Is Needed to Protect Patients throughout the Hospital
A new study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows a promising decline in central line associated blood stream infections (CLABSI) in hospital intensive care units. Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that CLABSI caused by Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in ICUs had declined by 50 percent over the last decade.
The study demonstrates that hospitals can make significant progress preventing infections, but more work needs to be done to protect patients from getting sick from infections during treatment, according to Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports.
“When hospitals focus on prevention, they can significantly reduce infections,” said Lisa McGiffert, Director of Consumers Union’s Stop Hospital Infections Campaign. “There’s no question that increased public awareness about infections creates different expectations of hospitals to do more to prevent them.”
Consumers Union also noted that state hospital infection reporting laws have helped raise awareness about the issue to the general public. Twenty five states have passed laws requiring some level of hospital infection reporting. Almost every state that has passed a disclosure law includes reporting on catheter-associated blood stream infections in the ICU.
“This consistent reporting requirement along with the CDC’s focus on blood stream infections have helped move hospitals away from the attitude that infections are inevitable to a greater emphasis on preventing infections and saving lives,” said McGiffert.
Despite the progress documented in the new study, according to CDC 95,000 patients get serious MRSA infections each year and 19,000 of them die. More than half of infections that happen in hospitals occur outside the ICU. An Association of Professionals in Infection Control (APIC) prevalence study found that MRSA infections are happening throughout hospitals. Only Pennsylvania hospitals are required to monitor and report on infections throughout the facility.
Lisa McGiffert – 512-477-4431
Michael McCauley- 415-431-6747