Reducing HAIs With Disposables
A few weeks ago, we asked you how many of you were using disposable vs. reusable blood pressure cuffs. It was interesting to see that close to 80% of you use reusable cuffs to only 20% disposable. Many studies show that HAIs are often passed on medical devices, especially cuffs, even after cleaning. In fact, a recent article in the AARP bulletin
cited one study which reported that 39 percent of medical personnel didn't know that C. diff could be spread on stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs and other equipment.
I recently participated in the conversion from reusable cuffs to a single-patient disposable blood pressure cuff at St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center in Syracuse, NY. The hospital made this decision to convert to a single-patient cuff in an effort to reduce inventory levels, make purchasing easier and more efficient, and to prevent infections by reducing the risk of bacteria being passed from patient to patient.
"With all the multi-drug resistant organisms out there, we really felt the disposable would be something to help lower the risk of hospital-acquired infections," said Chris Pines, St. Joe's manager of patient safety and risk, in a recent press release.
Another study (posted on the Infection Control Resource Center on ADVANCE for Nurses home page) shows that using one cuff per patient, and adhering to diligent cleaning and disinfection practices, reduces the risk of cross contamination significantly.
I look forward to sharing the results this conversion has on St. Joseph's in the weeks and months to come. As you assess your infection control processes, has your hospital considered converting to disposables?