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One team, one mission: YNHHS comes together to prevent CLABSIs


This winter, Yale New Haven Health launched its latest weapon in the ongoing battle against central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs).

Actually, it’s more of a toolkit than a weapon, and while the policies, procedures and resources in that toolkit aren’t new, they’re now standard across the health system. The toolkit – a central repository for all CLABSI-prevention resources -- is also available in an easy-to-access place, under the “Tools” dropdown menu in Epic. HealthStream training on the standardized CLABSI-prevention procedures launched recently as well.

“A lot of this is not new education; it’s a refresher of everything we’ve learned about CLABSI prevention,” said Heather Duggan, RN, clinical outcomes leader, Neuroscience ICU, a member of the YNHHS CLABSI-prevention performance improvement team.

A central line (also called a central venous access device) is a tube placed in a vein in the neck, chest or groin to give medication or fluids or collect blood samples for testing. CLABSIs occur when bacteria contaminate these lines. In addition to being a serious safety concern, they can cause patient discomfort and dissatisfaction and prompt costlier treatment and longer hospital stays.

The CLABSI-prevention toolkit covers hand hygiene practices, central line insertion and cleaning processes, steps for dressing changes and other topics. It also includes patient and family education on CLABSI prevention.

“The theme for this project is ‘one team, one mission,’” said Cory Walka, RN, clinical outcomes leader, Surgical Intensive Care, and a performance improvement team member. “It’s going to take all of us – doctors, nurses, care associates, patients and families – to prevent infections.”