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Infection Prevention

Infection Prevention’s role in our organization is to prevent and control infections. Comprised of physicians and nurses, the team provides each department within our organization the resources necessary to prevent adverse outcomes for our patients.

Mohawk Valley Health System Curtails CLABSI

From HANYS Innovation Spotlight - Triple Aim: New York Hospitals Are Improving Health, Enhancing Quality, and Reducing Costs. / March 2018

Central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI), which can occur during medical treatment when bacteria or other germs enter patients’ bloodstreams through their catheter, causes thousands of deaths annually and costs hospitals almost $46,000 per instance. Yet many cases of CLABSI are preventable.

In January 2015, Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) formed a CLABSI process improvement team to prevent these dangerous infections. The team implemented recommendations from the Society for Healthcare and Epidemiology in America, including the use of alcohol-impregnated end caps. Additionally, the team recognized that chlorhexidine bathing of critical care patients with central venous access devices (CVADs) would help prevent infection. These practices were implemented throughout the health system, coupled with education for the nursing staff and bedside posters to advance compliance.

Due to these measures, CLABSI rates were reduced system-wide and staff awareness of CLABSI increased. In just one year, CLABSI rates were reduced by 60.2%. Both of MVHS’s acute care facilities saw a decrease in their standardized infection ratios from 2015 to 2016: from 0.231 to 0.066 per 1,000 central line days at the first facility and 0.552 to 0.386 at the second. Eleven CLABSIs were potentially prevented.

For more information, contact Samantha Austin, R.N., B.S.N., Infection Preventionist, St. Elizabeth Medical Center, at (315) 801-3338 or at

Watch our hand washing video from our Aspiring Leaders Program.

What type of infections does the team focus on?

  • Multi-drug resistance in the inpatient units
  • Catheter-related blood stream infections
  • Ventilator-associated pneumonias
  • Surgical site infections
  • Hand hygiene compliance
  • Foley catheter-related urinary track infections
  • All nosocomial (hospital-acquired) infections.

What does Infection Prevention do to fight infections?

  • Creates policies that adhere to the most current evidence-based practice guidelines and recommendations
  • Educates departments about new and emerging pathogens and procedures
  • Acts as a resource for staff for all infection questions or concerns.