Arnot lays out plans to prevent infections in the NICU

Local News

ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Arnot Ogden Medical Center is outlining how they work to prevent infections in their NICU after the deaths of multiple infants in Geisinger NICU in Pennsylvania.

In response to the tragic deaths of several infants at a Pennsylvania hospital, Arnot Ogden Medical Center is taking this opportunity to educate our community about the efforts we take to prevent infection in our Neononatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The Arnot Ogden Medical Center NICU, which serves a nine-county area of the Twin Tiers, has extremely robust infection control processes in place to protect its most vulnerable patients.

Babies most susceptible to pseudomonas have dedicated 1:1 nursing care on each shift, so that potential for cross contamination among staff is minimized. In accordance with best practices NICU nursing staff use sterile procedures for hanging IVs, and utilize extremely regimented protocols for use of ventilators, which most NICU babies less than 27 weeks must be kept on to sustain them. Ongoing efforts, made possible by the introduction of new medications, also allow our NICU to reduce the amount of time babies must be kept on ventilators. As an additional precaution, nursing staff augment the work of the hospital’s environmental services team by cleaning each of their patients’ areas at the end of each shift.

As any parent or family member of a NICU baby knows, Arnot’s NICU protocols include very stringent guidelines for visitors to follow prior to entering the unit, including explicit instructions for hand washing and shoe coverings, as well as restrictions on bringing cell phones, fresh flowers, and other items that may harbor bacteria and/or other organisms into the Unit that could pose a threat to our patients.

System-wide, Arnot Health also has a well-established water management process that includes regular testing of temperatures and chlorination levels that has recently been made even more rigorous to comply with new regulatory requirements by the New York Department of Health. In light of the news out of Pennsylvania, Arnot Health has added regular testing for pseudomonas bacteria to its processes.

As healthcare providers entrusted with the care of the most vulnerable patients, our hearts go out to the families affected, as well as our colleagues, as they work to find answers to the cause of these infections.

Arnot Health

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