Elements of an Award-Winning HAI Prevention Program: Q&A With Pam Strickland of Kimberly-Clark Health Care

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Kimberly-Clark Health Care recently announced the recipients of the HAI WATCHDOG Awards program. The program recognizes efforts of healthcare professionals working to prevent healthcare-associated infections.


Each winning facility receives an educational grant. The four winners were:

  • Cabell Huntington Hospital in Huntington, W. Va.;
  • Children's Healthcare of Atlanta;
  • St. Tammany Parish Hospital in Covington, La.; and
  • Memorial Healthcare System in Chattanooga, Tenn.


Pam Strickland, associate director, global branding and communications at Kimberly-Clark Health Care, discusses the winning programs and what other organizations can learn from these leaders.


Q: What did each of the winners do that made their program and efforts stand out as best in class?

Pam Strickland: Cabell Huntington (W. Va.) — The program (an education-plan themed "Infection Inspection" that empowered the healthcare team to prevent CLABSI and VAP and made everyone accountable for achieving the goals) included many successful components, but what really set Cabell Huntington apart was the creativity shown in developing the education components and their holistic, multi-disciplinary approach. The hospital strived to create a sustainable program that could be built upon and replicated in other departments. As a result of the successful education plan, the Adult ICU was central line infection free for six consecutive months out of the first seven months measured.

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Vascular Access Team, Atlanta, Ga. — The hospital's CEO had a personal experience with HAIs and shared her story to motivate the vascular access team to address central line-associated bloodstream infections by engaging personnel at all levels throughout the hospital (the multi-year program, "Sustained Bloodstream Infection Improvement: It's a marathon, not a sprint," used evidence-based guidelines as the foundation to reduce CLABSI and to improve hand hygiene compliance).  The team was able to facilitate behavior change by enabling both clinicians and non-clinicians to view themselves as accountable for preventing CLABSIs. As a result of the team's efforts, the pediatric and technology dependent ICU went 319 and 384 days respectively without a CLABSI.

St. Tammany Parish Hospital, Covington, La. — What set the "Bug Club" apart was the collaborative approach between the infection prevention specialists and cardiovascular surgeons across five hospitals in the Northshore area of New Orleans (to improve coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgical site infections). They recognized that the most effective way to improve their infection rates was to work together. The collaboration paid off, as all five hospitals experienced at least a 70 percent reduction in the incidence of CABG surgical site infections over two years.

Memorial Healthcare System, Chattanooga, Tenn. – The hospital took a creative approach to engage the staff in a month-long hand hygiene campaign by involving all staff using educational techniques that were fun and entertaining. As part of the initiative, the team introduced "Hands Up for Hand Hygiene," a concept in which staff members raise their hands as a non-threatening reminder when someone is observed not washing their hands.


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Q: What can other providers learn from these champions and their programs?


PS: Other members of the healthcare community can leverage these creative and proven ideas, which have been shown to improve performance, to engage stakeholders throughout the organization to work together to solve the problem of HAIs.

Q: What do you think are the core elements of a successful HAI prevention program?


PS: Targeting all the key stakeholders within the healthcare facility is a common element across all these campaigns, so clearly this is extremely important. Sharing educational information throughout all levels of the organization is also a best practice and key to success seen in each of these cases. Finally, once a facility has a program that the evidence demonstrates does work, it is important to share it with fellow healthcare professionals, which is why Kimberly-Clark launched the HAI WATCHDOG Community and the HAI WATCHDOG Awards.

Q: What is the primary objective of the awards program?


PS: Kimberly-Clark Health Care developed this program to recognize the efforts of dedicated healthcare professionals helping to prevent HAIs in their healthcare facilities and to allow these professionals to share best practices for infection prevention, as members of the HAI WATCHDOG Community.


Learn more about the HAI WATCHDOG Awards.


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