[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3vkR7BzWl8] Sometimes it’s the most basic care that has the greatest impact on health outcomes. A recent article on CNN.com highlights Dr. Alfonso Torress-Cook’s work to reduce the rates of health care–associated infections (HAIs). (Click on the video above to watch a Fox news report about Torress-Cook.) This is a big deal because, according to a 2007 CDC report, there were 1.7 million HAIs in 2002; these were associated with approximately 99,000 deaths in the U.S. That’s a rate of 4.5 infections per 100 admissions, or one in 22 patients.

Torress-Cook’s strategy includes meticulous hand-washing by the staff, head-to-toe cleaning of the patients (including under their nails and oral care), daily cleaning of hospital rooms, giving antibiotics only when cultures prove they are necessary, and feeding yogurt to patients to replenish bacteria in the gut.

In the last year, AJN has featured articles on several of these, including hand-washing, oral care, and appropriate antimicrobial use.

Based on your own experience, what other relatively simple procedures might significantly improve outcomes in the workplace?

Christine Moffa, AJN clinical editor
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