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Dole VA demonstrates excellence in infection control

Group photo of Dole VA ICU staff being recognized for 365 days without an infection.
Staff of Dole VA’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Environmental Management Service, and Quality Management Department take a moment to celebrate their joint efforts that ensure patient safety in a high-risk environment.

The Dole VA Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and supporting staff crossed a notable benchmark last week: 365 days with zero healthcare-associated infections (HAIs)

On the heels of receiving a 5-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) hospital quality ratings last month, the ICU and supporting staff of the Robert J. Dole VA Medical Center reached an impressive milestone just last week: 365 days with no healthcare-associated infections (HAIs).

Jessica Raub, Infection Prevention Specialist in Dole VA’s Quality Management Department, said the Dole VA ICU has not only gone one year with no HAIs but also 16 months without a hospital-acquired MRSA infection, 20 months without a central line-associated blood stream infection (CLASBI) or a ventilator-associated event (VAE) infection, and 71 months free from a catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI).

“I review the status of all our inpatients daily,” said Raub. “I just made a note in my head every month that there’s been nothing in the ICU, and then I realized it had been a whole year since we last had an infection.”

Assistant ICU Nurse Manager Jeffrey Steinert said these fantastic results have a lot to do with the two inter-disciplinary huddles held daily.

“Every central line and foley catheter are discussed, and the safety-versus-need equation is addressed at every huddle, every day,” Steinert said. “This is just one more reason why the team approach proves to be successful.”

ICU Nurse Manager Randi Sandlin stressed the focus on safety does not stop at the huddle. Other team members, such as the Environmental Management Services (EMS) staff members, have focused on best practices and play a definitive role in safety and excellence in care.

“We collaborate to ensure best practices are always top of mind, but simply talking about best practices means nothing without the focused, bedside care provided by frontline staff,” Sandlin said. “Our success has everything to do with the team at bedside.”

Dole VA’s Medicine Service Chief Dr. Zubair Hassan, who oversees the medical care provided in the ICU, said the staff there exemplify excellence in patient care.

“They are very competent, dedicated, compassionate, and meticulous in discharging their duties,” Dr. Hassan said. “They adhere to principles of High Reliability Organizations (HRO) and ensure that Veterans in the ICU at Dole VA receive the best care anywhere.”

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