Russell County Medical Center makes patient safety a priority


LEBANON, Va. – With careful attention to cleanliness and a focus on patient safety, Russell County Medical Center has maintained exceptionally low infection rates in two key areas for several years. Since May 2005, RCMC has not had a single central line-associated blood stream infection (CLABSI). The hospital has had no ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) since January 2008. “At Russell County Medical Center, we believe that one infection is one too many,” said Eddie Greene, assistant vice president for Mountain States Health Alliance (MSHA) and administrator of RCMC. “Our team members adhere to strict infection-prevention protocol for every patient, which helps us protect them from potential infection.” 

According to William Taylor, quality manager for RCMC, that protocol includes measures like hand washing before accessing central lines and carefully cleaning ports on a regular basis.

“We also try to reduce the number of central lines used, because fewer central lines means less risk of infection,” Taylor said. “When we do need to use a central line, we make sure it is placed in an area that is least vulnerable to bacteria, and our caregivers use antimicrobial materials and techniques approved by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” 

A central line is a tube inserted directly into a major blood vessel. Central lines are necessary for patients who need to receive long-term antibiotics or nutrition through an IV and for patients who can’t use traditional IV lines for other purposes. 

“For our patients on ventilators, we take care to ensure they are turned every two hours, the head of the bed is elevated 30 degrees at all times, and we pay special attention to oral hygiene to reduce the number of bacteria present, thereby reducing the risk of pneumonia,” Taylor said. 

“I am extremely proud of the team members of RCMC for their careful attention to patient safety,” said Frank Horton, member of the RCMC board of directors. “Their commitment to infection prevention has been saving lives in Russell County for many years.” 
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