When seeking medical care, people typically understand that doctors cannot cure every ailment. However, most do not expect that in treating them, their physicians may cause additional, serious issues, such as the development of central line-associated bloodstream and other hospital-acquired infections. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, as many as 400,000 patients across the U.S. develop CLASBIs every year.
Using the following tips may help health care professionals and patients alike to prevent the development of these potentially serious or deadly infections.
Use barrier precautions
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to prevent infections involving central lines, health care providers should take precautions such as using the maximal sterile barrier precautions. To this end, they should wear sterile gloves, sterile gowns, masks and caps while inserting and removing central lines. They should also use large sterile drapes.
Practice good hand hygiene
Medical professionals and patients alike should practice good hand hygiene to help avoid the development of CLASBIs. This includes using an alcohol-based hand cleanser or washing hands with soap and water before touching central lines. Unless necessary, patients benefit from refraining from touching their central lines altogether and from asking their visitors to do the same.
Patients often benefit from immediately reporting concerns about their central lines to health care providers. For example, they should notify someone right away if their bandages become soiled or wet. Patients also ought to feel free to voice their concerns and ask questions, including whether they absolutely require the central line.
When patients develop health care-associated infections such as CLASBIs, they may suffer worsened conditions or, in some cases, even death. Since appropriate care should prevent HAIs, those who develop such infections may consider options to recover financial damages from the responsible medical providers.