St. Luke’s nursing receives Hospital Engagement Network Award

Published 9:58 am Friday, March 15, 2013

RN Kathy Utz and Jim Holleman, M.D.

RN Kathy Utz and Jim Holleman, M.D.

St. Luke’s Hospital was recently awarded a Hospital Engagement Network (HEN) Award, an honor as one of 13 out of 26 Carolinas Healthcare System hospitals. St. Luke’s Hospital was recognized for having zero percentile central line-associated blood stream infections in 2012.

According to Sandy Brooks, RN, MHSA, chief nursing officer of St. Luke’s Hospital, while health care-associated infections were once seen as an unavoidable risk of providing care, a successful nationwide program to reduce the deadliest of these infections has proven that change is possible. The Hospital Engagement Network (HEN) is a national grant awarded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which engages hospitals across the country to improve patient safety and quality. The goal of the HEN is to reduce unnecessary readmissions by 20 percent and patient harm by 40 percent, which also includes patient falls, surgical site infections, adverse medication events, ventilator-associated pneumonia, pressure ulcers and venous thromboembolisms (blood clots) and catheter-associated urinary tract infections.

A central line is a long fine catheter with an opening (sometimes multiple openings) at each end used to deliver fluids and drugs. The central line is inserted through the skin into a large vein that feeds into a larger vein sitting above the heart, so that the tip of the catheter sits close to the heart.

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Brooks explained that central lines are used to give fluids, blood products, chemotherapy and other drugs (such as antibiotics) directly into the bloodstream. Many of these drugs and fluids are not suitable to be given through smaller veins in the hand or forearm because they are very irritating to the lining of the veins. Central lines can also be used to take necessary blood samples, which reduce the number of repeated needle sticks.