We have many prevention strategies in place to decrease the risk of infections at MD Anderson, whether these infections are caused by antimicrobial resistant or susceptible organisms. Here are three very important strategies:
- First and foremost, we stress the importance of hand hygiene before and after contact with each patient and his/her environment. This breaks the chain of infection so that a germ cannot be transmitted from its source to a patient.
- Second, if a patient is found to have a multidrug resistant organism, we use isolation precautions as another way to prevent the transmission of germs to other patients.
- Third, if a patient has an infection, we strive to treat it quickly with the right antimicrobial agent. Recently, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) established their Campaign to Prevent Antimicrobial Resistance in Healthcare Settings. This campaign focuses on four strategies: prevent infection, diagnose and treat infection, use antimicrobials wisely, and prevent transmission. MD Anderson has a program in place to assure that the right antimicrobials are used to reduce the risk of a germ becoming multidrug resistant. Dr Mendelsohn and the Executive Committee of the Medical Staff have charged all of our clinicians with the judicious use of antimicrobials. With their support and recommendations, an Antibiotic Stewardship initiative was established. This multidisciplinary group, chaired by the Department of Infectious Disease, currently makes recommendations for appropriate use of antimicrobials based on MD Anderson's data as well as other peer-reviewed data. This strategy helps us to reduce the incidence of resistant organisms and protect our patients from infections caused by these organisms.
Remember, you can help us in this important endeavor as well. Infection prevention is everyone's job.Clean Hands Save Lives!!!
-Ellen Siegel, MS, RN Sr Clin Qual Improve Analyst