The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust (TRFT) is proud to have achieved 13 months with zero infections caused by central catheters.
TRFT's Vascular Access Team has introduced a hands-on, patient orientated surveillance programme within Rotherham Hospital which helps to identify early indications of potential risk of infections so that they can be prevented.
The team, led by Nurse Consultant Andrew Jackson and Nurse Specialist Sarah Cooper, work across the hospital’s wards to ensure that the use of vascular access devices, such as drips used to administer drugs and to feed patients, are monitored in order to keep infection rates low.
The team’s presence on the wards helps to heighten the importance of infection prevention and gives staff the opportunity to ask the vascular access team questions and to seek reassurance on how to use lines.
The surveillance programme has been running since February 2009 and began with them exploring what could be done to help prevent infections. The team then began to check patients for factors such as high temperatures and loose dressings, which can be indicators of an infection. A person suffering from an infection due to a vascular access device might experience symptoms such as a fever, generally feeling unwell or they might develop septicaemia. The Surveillance Programme helps with investigating patients with symptoms of infection so that the correct actions can be taken to make them well again. It focusses on long term vascular devices which covers all devices except cannulas inserted into the hands. The vascular access team also helps ward staff to decide whether the use of different vascular access devices is suitable i.e. a PICC (Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter) line, inserted into the patients arm, is suitable. Inserting devices into the arm helps to reduce the risk of infection in comparison to if a device is inserted into the neck or other part of the body. The surveillance project has been hospital wide (with the exception of Paediatrics) since 2009.
Professor Walid Al-Wali, Director of Infection Prevention and Control at TRFT, commented: “I am absolutely delighted that over the last 12 months the number of bacteraemia due to central catheter related infections is zero.
“We have had 14 cases since the start of the programme but our rate was still extremely good because it was less that 1.0 per 1000 catheter days. The international standard ( i.e. Matching Michigan ) is less than 1.4. This is the standard set for ITU patients. There is currently no standard for other hospital patients which puts TRFT ahead of the game: This year we are simply exceptionally fantastic. You cannot find this in any hospital in the UK.
“Excellent training and leadership from the Vascular Access team has also played a vital role in achieving this standard.”
The Vascular Access team works closely with the wider infection prevention and control team at the Trust to help keep infection rates low overall.