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California hospitals strive to improve infection rates

One may be the loneliest number, but zero is the greatest number. All 42 elevators inside Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA, are strewn with posters that say “Zero is the Greatest Number” in an effort to lower the hospitals infection rates to zero.

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center is just one California hospital actively trying to lower its infection rates.

California is the 27th state to begin publicly reporting its infection rates, reported The Press-Enterprise, Riverside, CA. Since then, the state’s hospitals have been actively engaged in both reducing infection rates and educating people. Riverside Community Hospital in Riverside, CA gives its patients hand sanitizers, [1] urging them to ask nurses and doctors if they washed their hands.

Santa Clara Valley Regional Medical Center in San Jose is a leading California hospital in preventing infections, The Press-Enterprise reported. The hospital developed a series of checklists for properly inserting and removing catheter lines, prompting the infection numbers to fall. Numerous other California hospitals have since adopted the checklist practice to prevent bloodstream infections.

Along with its elevator campaign, Cedars-Sinai sent inspectors out to find areas where bacteria hide. One area they tested was the privacy curtain around a patients’ bed, and found that 30% of the curtains were infected, according to The Press-Enterprise. The hospital then ordered a new type of curtain, popular in British hospitals, that’s strong and easy to wash. The curtains have been bacteria-free for the last five quarters.

How does your facility educate patients and staff on infection control? Let us know in our comment section.

Also, check out the 19 resources under the Infection Control heading on the Tools page [2].