Christchurch Hospital Intensive Care Unit Marks Important Milestone

Monday November 26, 2012

Christchurch Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit is celebrating a full year of being Central Line Associated Bacteraemia (CLAB) free.

Tomorrow (November 27) will mark 365 CLAB-free days and media are invited to attend a photo opportunity.

Intensive Care Specialist Dave Knight says Canterbury is one of the leading District Health Boards (DHBs) in the country in reducing hospital acquired blood infections and this is an important landmark as part of its participation in the national collaboration to prevent CLAB.

“Before the project started our maximum CLAB free gap was 90 days. So this is a remarkable team effort and shows that a motivated, coordinated, multidisciplinary team can deliver tangible improvements to the health of Cantabrians,” Dr Knight says.

About half of patients admitted to ICU will require a central venous catheter (a bloodstream catheter that is put into a large vein) and last year about 43 critically ill patients developed CLAB while in ICUs across the country.

Once established a CLAB carries a 10 to 50 per cent mortality rate and adds between $20,000 to $50,000 to the hospital bill.

“Because of this, the measurement and prevention of CLAB has become one of the major quality targets for the critical care community. The end result will be safer patient care, shorter stays in ICU, and reduced cost – which can be spent on healthcare improvements,” Dr Knight says.

The goal of the national CLAB project, which is supported by the Health Quality and Safety Commission, is collaboration between all 20 DHBs to coordinate a quality improvement initiative targeting elimination of CLAB in ICU patients.

Dr Knight says CDHB among the few DHBs with a clean record for CLAB and the effort represents saving 20 CLABs in 20 patients over a year, a saving of up to $500,000.

“Three powerful facts are that we have prevented up to 20 CLABs in Christchurch Hospital’s ICU over the last year (based on historic data). We have therefore saved up to 10 lives and saved CDHB an estimated half million dollars,” he says.

“An important aspect of the project’s success is the sterling work CDHB’s TeleHealth service does to support it. TeleHealth is the delivery of health-related services and information via video conferencing technologies.”

Page last reviewed: 24 July 2013
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