St. Mary’s Successful Infection Prevention Policies Take the Spotlight

Children residing in long-term care facilities have complex medical problems and complicated care needs, yet research in this area and among this population is rare. St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children is therefore pleased to share that our Director of Infection Prevention, Marianna Pavia is collaborating with a team of other experts to provide much needed research on the impact of healthcare-associated infections (HAI) in pediatric long-term care facilities. Most recently, Ms. Pavia coauthored an article on HAI that was published in the July issue of the American Journal of Infection Control.

The article examined the impact of HAI outbreaks on pediatric long-term care facilities (pLTCF) residents and staff, outlining infection prevention tactics and control measures. The article noted, “because of the frequent use of medical devices (including tracheostomies), frequent peer and staff interaction (eg, group therapeutic activities), and age-related vulnerability of contracting infections, children residing in these facilities likely have an increased risk of developing an HAI similar to the adult long-term care populations.” The study concluded that further research in infection prevention interventions should focus on this particular population because this population is growing steadily and is a significant part of the health care continuum.

In addition to this article Ms. Pavia is also currently working on a grant-funded project called KICK (Keep It Clean for Kids). KICK evaluates infection prevention projects associated with infection rates and hand hygiene in the pediatric population. The four-year grant was courtesy of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and is being done in collaboration with Columbia University, Sunshine Children’s Hospital and Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center.

To date, St. Mary’s has seen significant reduction of infection occurrence; this includes a 62% reduction in central line- associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI). The Infection Control Team continues to implement numerous prevention tactics to keep St. Mary’s Kids as healthy as possible. This includes a real-time electronic hand hygiene monitoring system that measures compliance based on the World Health Organization’s “Five Moments for Hand Hygiene.” The system tracks when each hand sanitizing device has been used and allows daily access to dashboards and reports on the device’s usage.

Marianne Pavia lauded the hand hygiene tracking system as a helpful tool in infection prevention, but also noted, “We are working to foster a culture change in which all staff ‘own’ the problem of HAIs in their patients, prioritize the need for hand hygiene and other precautions to prevent these infections.”