Huntsville, AL

July 27, 2017

Huntsville Hospital’s Medical Intensive Care Unit is getting closer to its goal of zero infections.

Last week, Director Regina Wilder provided a Chick-fil-A breakfast to thank her staff for working to eliminate central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI) and catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI).

Despite treating some of the sickest patients at the hospital, the unit has gone eight months without a CAUTI and made it almost a year – from July 2016 until last month – without a central line infection.

Chief Medical Officer Robert Chappell, MD, attended the breakfast to present Regina with the hospital’s Quality Coin. Chief Nursing Officer Karol Jones and HH Health System Chief Operating Officer Jeff Samz were also on hand.  The MICU’s low infection rate “is incredibly impressive,” said Jeff, “and it makes our hospital a safer place for patients.”

The low infection rate is incredibly impressive and it makes our hospital a safer place for patients.

-Jeff Samz, HH System Chief Operating Officer


How did they do it?
Regina said MICU caregivers are required to wear a surgical mask and gloves when accessing a patient's central line. The unit also uses port protector caps that are pre-treated with alcohol to help prevent infections, she said, and conducts daily audits to make sure each patient’s central line dressing is dry.

“To go 11 months without a CLABSI is pretty amazing considering how many patients we have with a central line,” said Regina. “The goal is zero infections, and that’s what we’ll continue to work towards.”

Regina recently completed the UAH Lean Healthcare Academy training and is currently working on implementing lean concepts learned during the class.  Other MICU staff have also completed the training and continue to improve operations in the unit.  Brian Buchman is another graduate of the Academy who leveraged the knowledge gained to implement best practices to reduce CLABSIs and CAUTIs a couple of years prior.

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