JCMC receives national recognition for low infection rates


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – Johnson City Medical Center (JCMC) has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the American Association of Critical Care Nurses for excellence in preventing hospital-associated infections. 

JCMC will receive the Outstanding Leadership Award for Achievements in Eliminating Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia on May 2 at the 2011 National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition in Chicago, Ill. This award honors hospitals that use a team approach to prevent ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP). 

“The VAP rate at JCMC is now a tenth of what it was in 2005, and one third of what is typically found in hospitals of a similar size and patient population,” said Rebecca Bartles, corporate manager of infection prevention for Mountain States Health Alliance (MSHA). 

ICU teams at JCMC began a project in 2006 designed to target VAP infections by laying out a list of infection prevention criteria that must be met for every patient. The project involves a collaborative approach among nurses, physicians, respiratory therapists, infection prevention teams, physical and occupational therapists and pharmacy staff. 

“Every provider who comes in contact with the ventilated patient has to be on board with these standards in order for the approach to work,” Bartles said. “We have been pleased with how well our departments have worked together to create the safest possible environment for our patients.” Research indicates that measures like elevating the head of the patient’s bed, maintaining meticulous oral care, and standardizing the way clinicians communicate about the patient’s care all tend to reduce infection rates, and those best-practice measures are what guides JCMC’s infection prevention protocol. “We are very proud of each team member who has worked to provide the best possible care for these vulnerable patients,” said Bartles. “I think this award demonstrates that our infection prevention processes are working over the long term, and that we’re continuing to move in the right direction.” 
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