Mercy Hospital Washington has maintained another year of zero infection rates for hospital acquired Methicillin-Resistant Staph Aureus (MRSA) and Vancomycin-resistant Enterococci (VRE) and lower than average occurrences for other infections.
“People who seek medical care are often the most vulnerable to infections and need the most protection from getting other illnesses,” said Jeanette Holtmeyer, infection preventionist for Mercy Hospital Washington. “When patients come to Mercy Hospital Washington, their chances of acquiring a hospital-borne illness are almost nonexistent. We take extra precautions to keep areas clean and sterilize things that patients touch and things that touch patients. We do all we can to keep vulnerable people safe from harm.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Missouri Department of Health, the Missouri Hospital Association and Mercy tracks diseases including those that are often referred to as hospital-borne. Hospital-borne infections are a variety of germs, bacteria and other organisms that can cause harmful infections that are resistant to treatment. They are prevalent in hospitals and care facilities because people who are already sick are more likely to acquire them.
“These are infections that to a healthy person can be harmless. A healthy person can carry some of these bacteria and never know it, but if a person with a suppressed immune system has contact, or a surgical patient has contact, it can be very serious, and even deadly,” said Holtmeyer.
Mercy in Washington has maintained rates that are lower than national averages and has maintained zero infections in several areas including MRSA, VRE, intravenous line- and ventilator-related infections.
Holtmeyer said hospital and clinic staff is trained and routinely retrained in the science of keeping germs away. It starts with the simplest task of thorough and frequent hand washing and disinfecting rooms with hospital-grade cleaners, sterilizing operating room tools and following systematic protocols for safely treating patients. Mercy also asks visitors to do their part by washing hands before and after visiting a patient, wearing protective masks when appropriate and not visiting when they are sick.
“Everyone in the hospital environment is trained on quality and patient safety and the importance of doing it right the first time, every time,” Holtmeyer said. “That’s the commitment we make to our patients and our efforts show. It also allows us to focus patient care on the issues that bring them here so we can do everything we can to get them healthy and safely back at home.”
In recent years, Mercy Hospital Washington has received accolades for its quality measures. In 2012 it received a “Grade A” from Leapfrog for patient safety. It was recognized by Primaris in 2011 for zero MRSA infections in the intensive care unit. It was ranked by Consumer Reports in 2012 as a top “safe hospital” and in 2010 as a top hospital at keeping patients in the intensive care unit from contracting life-threatening infections linked to the presence of central (intravenous) lines. In 2010, it was the recipient of the Safe Patient Care Award for influenza mitigation from Missouri’s Center for Patient Safety.