Nash Health Care received two VHA awards for its outstanding work in preventing hospital-associated MRSA infections. MRSA, sometimes dubbed the “super bug,” is an antibiotic-resistant bacteria that causes serious infections. Each year, more than 17,000 Americans die as a result of MRSA-related infections. Nash Health Care participated in several initiatives developed in collaboration with the VHA to help hospitals reduce and eliminate hospital-associated MRSA infections. As a result, Nash Health Care has reduced its MRSA infection rate by more than 80 percent, from 8 cases in 2007 to 3 cases in 2010. Patients at Nash Health Care remained totally free of hospital-associated MRSA infections between February and November of 2011.
Nash Health Care was honored with the VHA Central Atlantic’s Gold award Excellence in MRSA Reduction 2008-2010 and the Central Atlantic Region’s Excellence in MRSA Reduction Award for 2010.
“This is an incredible achievement,” said Larry Chewning, President and CEO of Nash Health Care. “This award means that Nash Health Care’s innovation has once again made it a model for other hospitals nationwide.”
Infection Prevention Coordinator Wanda Lamm stated that the achievement would not have been possible without the extensive teamwork and cooperation between nurses, health care workers and the dedicated employees of the Environmental Services Department.
Some of the initiatives implemented by Nash Health Care include a room quality check. After a patient is discharged, a room is thoroughly cleaned. Then, supervisors in the Environmental Services Department utilize a product called Glo-Germ that uses a black light to help ensure that areas that are frequently touched—such as door handles, TV remotes, and bed rails—are thoroughly cleaned. The Glo-Germ is used on a sample of rooms after patients have been discharged. In addition, Infection Prevention nurses conduct spot checks using a device called Accupoint 2, which evaluates the cleanliness of a surface.
Nash Health Care also recently held a hand hygiene day and have rewarded diligent employees through the “I Got Caught” campaign in order to educate employees about the importance of handwashing. As result of these efforts, not only did Nash Health Care employees boast a 95 hand hygiene compliance rate ---as compared to the hospital average of 40 percent nationwide---but Lamm was asked to present the success of this program in VHA publications and in Infection Control, a trade magazine for nurses who specialize in infection prevention.
VHA, based in Texas, serves 1,400 not-for-profit hospitals and more than 24,000 non-acute care health care organizations nationwide, developing strategies to help hospitals across the country improve efficiency and clinical outcomes. The award was presented at a meeting of the Nash Health Care Board of Commissioners.
President and CEO of Nash Health Care Larry Chewning (far left), congratulates infection prevention nurses Wanda Lamm (second from left) and Pam Johnson (third from left) for receiving the VHA Leadership Awards from VHA representative Dave McDonald (far right). Nash Health Care earned the national recognition for reducing hospital-associated MRSA infections by more than 84 percent.