Mid Coast Hospital Awarded for Patient Safety Efforts

*Organized program fights antibiotic resistant infections

Mid Coast Hospital was recently spotlighted with an innovation award by Avatar International, a primary provider of survey research for quality and quality improvement.

The award focused on the Hospital's efforts to ensure patients avoid and receive proper care for the antibiotic resistant staph infection Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA). Sometimes referred to as "mursa," the infection has recently received a great deal of notoriety. When routine infection
prevention practices are not consistently followed, the MRSA germ can easily be transmitted--and has been--in high school and professional sports teams, among household family members, and in healthcare settings.

According to Lorna MacKinnon, RN, a certified infection control nurse and director of infection prevention at Mid Coast Hospital, the hospital implemented a program to check the spread of MRSA in early 2007. This group of practices the hospital put in place are called the “MRSA Bundle” and are considered best practices by the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control and The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America.

"It is all about good infection prevention practices being consistently followed," says Ms MacKinnon.

"The most important thing for all of us to do, at home and at work, is to wash our hands regularly." She says and emphasizes that means not just the hospital staff but also the patients and visitors.

In addition to hand hygiene, the bundle includes screening patients for MRSA when they are admitted to inpatient medical-surgical and intensive care units. If a patient has the MRSA germ additional practices are put into place. Routine cleaning of the patient's environment is another essential component of the program.

A multidisciplinary hospital team also developed a booklet “Living with MRSA”
This brochure provides information about the MRSA germ, its treatment, and control both in the hospital setting and at home. A copy of the booklet is available on line at: midcoasthealth.com/msra.

Despite the indications that MRSA is on the rise nationwide, Mid Coast Hospital is working hard to keep this germ in check. "Once the national indicators appeared in the media, we received regularly queries. It is gratifying that I can point to an organized program here that is our standard of care.

“We are hoping that over time, our practices will not just hold MRSA in check, but will actually decrease it," Ms MacKinnon says.

Things to remember about preventing MRSA and other contagious illnesses

1. Wash your hands often.

2. Take good care of yourself: Eat right, exercise, quit smoking, avoid stress.

3. Take good care of your skin.

4. Don't share sports equipment or towels.

5. Keep skin infections covered to avoid breeding infection.

6. See your health care provider if the you have concerns.