Patients who undergo dialysis treatment have an increased risk of infection. They are at a high risk for infection because the process of hemodialysis requires frequent use of dialysis catheters or the insertion of needles to access the bloodstream. Additionally, hemodialysis patients commonly have weakened immune systems. A weakened immune system increases the risk for infection, which, in turn, can require frequent hospitalizations and surgery, where the chance of acquiring an infection increases. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have placed a heightened focus on reducing bloodstream infections through a series of Core Interventions, which include patients becoming active members of their dialysis care team by observing staff during opportunities for hand hygiene and communicating the results of these observations to the clinical staff. In response, the Network has developed the following series of steps to accomplish our ongoing goal of improving the quality of care provided to dialysis patients.
Step 1: Review the Clean Hands Count brochure and the Clean Hands Save Lives resource to educate yourself on the End Stage Renal Disease Conditions for Coverage (CfCs) and the CDC's protocols for infection prevention through effective hand hygiene procedures.
Step 2: See what you know with this Test Your Hand Hygiene Knowledge interactive learning module.
Step 3: Protect yourself and others from infection by starting the conversation with your dialysis care staff to improve awareness about patient safety issues in your facility.
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