News & Events

CCU reaches 1000-day patient safety milestone

January 7, 2011

Backus Hospital’s Critical Care Unit has gone 1,000 straight days without a central line infection, an accomplishment that places it among the best CCU’s in the nation.

The life-saving streak is even more remarkable given the fact that the hospital won the Connecticut Hospital Association’s prestigious John D. Thompson Award for Excellence in the Delivery of Healthcare Through the Use of Data for a similar streak in 2008, and last year received the national Beacon Award for critical care excellence.

All told, since 2008, the Backus CCU has had only one central line infection. According to national mortality data, this means a savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars. But more importantly, between 2 and 4 lives are being saved each year.

The 1,000-day milestone was met May 7. Rebecca Durham, RN, Clinical Director of the CCU, surprised her staff and others that have contributed to the success with a low key celebration that included cake and T-shirts that read “1,000 days: Dedication, Diligence, Teamwork.”

“I am very proud of my staff for their incredible dedication to our patients,” Ms. Durham said. “But this accomplishment goes far beyond the CCU. I would also like to thank our physicians, Respiratory Therapy, Interventional Radiology, IV Therapy, ESD, Pharmacy and nursing leadership. This is the kind of teamwork that Backus has always been known for and needs to continue to have.”

Avoidable infections related to central lines cause up to 4,000 deaths n U.S. CCU’s each year, according to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI). The Backus CCU’s success began with the adoption of the IHI’s central line “bundle,” which has five key components:

  • Hand hygiene
  • Maximal barrier precautions
  • Chlorhexidine skin antisepsis
  • Optimal catheter site selection, with subclavian vein as the preferred site for non-tunneled catheters
  • Daily review of line necessity, with prompt removal of unnecessary lines.

Mary Bylone, RN, Interim Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer and a former CCU nurse herself, said there are lessons to be learned hospital-wide from this success story.

“When we work together, collect and analyze appropriate data, create protocols and follow through on them every day, we can achieve greatness throughout our organization,” Ms. Bylone said. “This is a textbook success story about how frontline nurses and many others can collaborate, improve patient care and sustain their success over the long haul. This is a proud moment for Backus, and hopefully a springboard for many other clinical achievements to come.”