Checklist helps staff prevent infection, clean workstations

After using a two-part checklist, a Vermont dialysis center affiliated with Fletcher Allen Health Care saw better patient safety and more time for staff to finish clinical documentation.

The checklist, developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and its Dialysis Bloodstream Infection Prevention Collaborative, helped workers ensure proper cleaning between outpatient hemodialysis to prevent bloodstream infections caused by cross-contamination, according to American Medical News. It outlines what must be done before and after someone starts disinfecting a dialysis station.

At the clinic in Vermont, prior to using the checklist, workers did not discharge the patient from the station before starting their disinfecting process, according to a blog post written by nurses and the head of infection prevention at Fletcher Allen Healthcare, posted on the CDC website.

"Staff agreed to a one-week trial of the new checklist, if only to prove that this 'waiting for the patient to leave the station' was not truly feasible," the authors wrote. But at the end of one week, staff wanted to keep using the the checklist.

Amednews noted the technicians could slow down, complete documentation and collect themselves before moving on to the next patient. "It is best to wait until each patient has finished their treatment and has left the station," said Priti Patel, M.D., head of the CDC's dialysis safety efforts, in the article.

Safety checklists continue to grow in popularity--recently, the Health Research and Educational Trust (HRET) released 10 new checklists, identifying evidence-based interventions for hospitals to implement along with tools and steps. And preoperative checklists and anesthesia checklists were among 10 patient safety strategies hospitals are "strongly encouraged" to adopt, according to May research headed by RAND Corporation.

To learn more:
- read the article in American Medical News
read the blog on the CDC site