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Infection Prevention

Conemaugh Health System leadership, physicians, and staff are committed to making every patient experience safe, actively working to reduce infections through implementation of infection prevention best practices and the monitoring and sharing of outcomes.

For Fiscal Year 2015 Conemaugh Memorial met or exceeded benchmark goals on Patient Safety Indicators including:

  • Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections
  • Central Line Associated Blood Stream Infections
  • C-diff infections
  • MRSA Infections
  • Surgical Site Infections  

Conemaugh Health System is proud of continued efforts to reduce healthcare associated infections in all categories on the dashboard, and especially proud that we have had zero central line associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI) for fiscal year 2015. 


Prevention and Safety Measures

Device Associated Infection Prevention for Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) and Bloodstream Infections (BSI)

  • Evidence based practices used for aseptic insertion and care while catheters are in place
  • Active surveillance to discontinue catheters when no longer necessary
  • Regular feedback of infection rates to staff and physicians

Surgical Site Infection Prevention

  • Pre-operative shower/ bath with antiseptic
  • Nasal antiseptic applied pre-operatively for select surgeries to reduce Staph infections, including MRSA
  • Appropriate pre-operative antibiotic selection and timing of administration = 99% compliance
  • Staff Huddles, department feedback tours, routine communication to staff and physicians re: infection goals and outcomes

Environmental Infection Prevention
* Reduces bacteria and viruses including multiple drug resistant organisms like MRSA and C-diff

  • Daily cleaning and disinfection with hydrogen peroxide and bleach
  • Ultraviolet-C light disinfection with the TRU-D robot

Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center uses the TRU-D robot to disinfect with ultraviolet-C light. The device is used to help disinfect operating rooms, procedure rooms, Cardiac Catheterization Lab, Electrophysiology Lab, Interventional Radiology, Obstetrics, and Emergency Department. The robot emits Ultraviolet-C light which disinfects all surfaces, even the underside of the tables. Environmental Services personnel clean the rooms using established best practices and then use the robot as an additional measure to ensure patient safety.

TRU-D is an ultraviolet system used to disinfect patient rooms and operating rooms at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center.

Eight sensors on the TRU-D measure the size of the room and the contents within, and the UV-C light bounces around the room and disinfects underneath and between surfaces.

Physical cleaning is still a must, but this extra step ensures all operating rooms are 99.99% disinfected – clean beyond humanly possible!


Preventing Infections: What can you do?

It is very important to protect all of our patients from infection. Without proper precautions, germs can easily spread among patients, visitors, and staff.

  • Wash your hands after handling any type of soiled material, after sneezing, coughing or blowing your nose, before eating, and after using the bathroom.
  • Be an active member of your health care team. Remind doctors and nurses to wash their hands before and after working with patients.
  • Remind people not to visit if they are not feeling well.

Hand washing is the single most effective thing we can all do to prevent the spread of germs!


State Initiatives

Fighting infections is a shared initiative by hospitals across the state of Pennsylvania. 

The Hospital Association of Pennsylvania’s (HAP) Pennsylvania Hospital Engagement Network (PA-HEN)—through a three-year (2012–2014) Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Partnerships for Patients initiative—worked with participating hospitals with goals of improving quality and patient safety. Their efforts resulted in a staggering 37 percent reduction in all-cause harm and a significant 26 percent reduction in 30-day all-cause readmissions. These important reductions also resulted in the prevention of 136,319 harm events and an estimated cost-avoidance of $694 million in Pennsylvania.

During the past three years, HAP’s PA-HEN and its participating hospitals collaboratively worked to reduce hospital-acquired infections, including CLABSI, CAUTI, surgical site infections, ventilator-associated events, and others.

Antibiotic stewardship is an important component of reducing MRSA. Pennsylvania hospitals are actively engaged in antibiotic stewardship, which helps address the issue of antibiotic-resistant organisms.

Infections are best eradicated when all involved in the care of the patient, including hospitals, doctors, nursing homes, other health care providers, the patient and family, work together to prevent the spread of germs. Everyone entering a hospital as patient or visitor should ask hospital staff how they can help reduce infections and protect all hospitalized patients.

Performance of appropriate hand hygiene is an excellent example of a way to prevent the spread of germs.

Pennsylvania hospitals work hard to prevent infections. It is a never-ending process with new challenges and situations emerging every day.  There are many quality efforts underway across the state. Hospitals continue to learn from each other and incorporate the best practices to improve and promote quality care.