Hospital group launches infection control effort

A national consortium of children’s hospitals is forming to better detect and prevent nosocomial infections and antibiotic-resistant pathogens in NICUs and among pediatric patients.

Coordinated by the National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions (NACHRI) in Alexandria, VA, the project will be funded for its first year with a $200,000 cooperative agreement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. The program involves 36 hospitals nationally, including 11 where program pilot testing was done and 25 additional facilities that will participate in data gathering.

"The first thing that we are doing is a survey of all the participating hospitals to identify the various hospital characteristics in general and those related to infection control," says Shirley Girouard, PhD, RN, FAAN, vice president of child health and financing for NACHRI.

The survey will assess such demographics as staffing, budget, surveillance activities, electronic communication methods, organization, and program processes, she notes.

Researchers report that multiple factors contribute to the differences in nosocomial infections in infants and young children and those in adults. The rates of nosocomial infections in NICUs have been reported to be as high as 7% to 25%. Differences include host factors such as congenital abnormalities, sources of infection, routes of transmission, and distribution of pathogens.

More specific projects involving clinical practice are expected to follow, including possibly developing standards for infection control in children’s hospitals, she adds.

[Editor’s note: For more information, contact NACHRI at (703) 684-1355. Fax: (703) 684-1589. Or write: 401 Wythe St., Alexandria, VA 22314.]