Fewer infections reported at Grand Junction hospitals

Two local hospitals recorded a dozen or fewer patients who developed infections while at those hospitals between Aug. 1, 2010 and July 31, 2011, according to an annual report on hospital-acquired infections.

St. Mary’s Hospital and Community Hospital recorded hospital-acquired infections in 12 and nine patients, respectively, during that time, according to this year’s “State of Colorado Status Report on the Health Facility-Acquired Infections Disclosure Initiative.” The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment compiles the report and releases it each January in accordance with the Hospital-Acquired Infections Disclosure Act of 2006. It measures infections in knee and hip replacement, hernia repair, hysterectomy, and coronary artery bypass graft patients as well as certain blood infections.

St. Mary’s reported five patients for every 1,000 procedures acquired infections at the hospital. The state average is eight infections for every 1,000 procedures.

St. Mary’s Chairman of Infection Prevention William Lockwood said guidelines for infection prevention have improved with research during the last decade. Those guidelines, he said, helped the hospital record fewer infections than the state average.

“It’s a variety of actions and procedures we do before every line goes in, before every surgery. It’s hard to do it right every time, but the closer we get to doing it right every time, the better,” he said.

Community Hospital’s rate was 15 hospital-acquired infections for every 1,000 procedures. Annette Saylor, Community Hospital director of surgery, and Katherine Cholet, director of quality accreditation and licensure, said people should keep in mind some of those infections may have developed from bacteria or other infection-causing agents the patients brought into the hospital with them.

Regardless of the infection source, both women said the hospital implemented practices to crack down on infections. Patients for most surgeries are advised to bathe three times in the hours leading up to surgery, receive a nasal swab to check for infections in their noses, and have their skin disinfected with alcohol.

“We tell patients why we’re doing certain things, so they’ll continue behavior that will prevent infections at home, too,” Saylor said.

Cholet said infections can cost hospitals and patients money and result in readmissions.

“I think it’s a priority for all of us to have zero infections,” she said.

Delta County Memorial Hospital in Delta approached that goal in 2010–11, when it recorded two hospital-acquired infections among its 101 knee-replacement-procedure patients and no infections among 218 hip replacement, hernia repair, or hysterectomy patients.

Grand River Medical Center in Rifle had too few patients to report infection data in all but one area, hernia repair procedures, where it recorded zero hospital-acquired infections in 2010–11.

Montrose Memorial Hospital had no infections among its 79 abdominal hysterectomy patients in 2010–11. But the hospital had higher infection ratios than the state for vaginal hysterectomies, hernia repairs, hip replacements and knee replacements, with seven infections among the 478 people who had those procedures at the hospital during that time.

Grand Junction’s Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Fruita’s Family Health West were not included in the annual infection report.

The report also includes data about infections acquired at dialysis clinics and ambulatory surgery centers that perform outpatient hernia repair procedures.

Dialysis Clinic Inc. GJ had one infection between Aug. 1, 2010, and July 31, 2011, among 183 patients. Grand Junction Dialysis Center had two infections among 1,157 patients. Mesa County Dialysis had three infections among 189 patients. Dialysis Clinic Inc. Montrose had four infections among 532 patients. Black Canyon Dialysis Center in Montrose did not have the 50 patients required to report dialysis-related infections.

First Choice Outpatient Surgery Center at Community Hospital had one infection among 121 hernia patients, and Grand Valley Surgical Center had no infections among 221 patients in 2010–11.


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