Northridge Hospital Medical Center

A meeting of the minds for SSI and CAUTI prevention

Northridge Hospital Medical Center 

  • Roy Boukidjian, RN, BSN, PHN, CIC
  • Daniel Field, RN, CIC
  • Ruth Locascio, RN

Northridge, CA

Collaboration and proactivity have enabled the Infection Prevention team at the 411-bed Northridge Hospital Medical Center to dramatically impact patient care within their facility and the surrounding community.

Team members Roy Boukidjian, Daniel Field, and Ruth Locascio start by pinpointing the primary cause behind an emerging issue, identifying evidence-based solutions, and then engaging key players by demonstrating both the business and patient-care case for improvements. “It’s also helpful if caregiver education incorporates an emotional element to help cement the message,” said Field.

When the team noted high readmission for surgical site infections from skilled nursing facilities, they effectively lobbied for comprehensive community outreach. They conducted site visits to skilled nursing facilities, which agreed to implement action plans aligning post-surgical standards of care with those of the hospital.

The hospital then hosted a conference for skilled nursing facilities and their regional management, hospital administration, and high-volume orthopedic surgeons to share lessons learned. Each facility applied these best practices in their respective locations, dramatically impacting patients’ continuum of care: NHMC has not seen a single post-operative hip infection since implementing the program in September 2012.The county health department commended the team’s plan, which is now being applied at numerous local facilities.

The team used a similar approach to battle catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs). Surveillance data suggested that compliance with maintaining a closed catheter system between the emergency department and ICU was decreasing, making patients more vulnerable to infection. The team made the business case to replace Foley trays in the emergency department with catheters already equipped with urometer bags, reducing the need to break the seal upon transfer. “Convenience is critical,” said Boukidjian. “The greatest idea in the world won’t work if there isn’t a convenience factor.”

“No matter how long you have been in infection prevention, there is always something new to learn and improve,” said Locascio.