When health care professionals and facilities in Ohio slack on safety protocols, it is often the patients who suffer. As a result of lax standards, patients may contract illnesses aside from the ones they originally sought treatment for, including central line-associated bloodstream infections.

Central line-associated bloodstream infections, or CLASBIs as they are more commonly known, occur when germs get into the bloodstream through a central venous catheter. Similar to an IV but placed in large veins in the arms, neck, chest or groin, central lines may be used to give patients fluids or medications and can be left in place for weeks or months.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there are 400,000 cases of this type of hospital-acquired infections across the U.S. each year. As a result of CLASBIs, patients may require longer hospital stays, which often comes with added medical costs. In some cases, CLASBIs may even result in patient deaths.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, health care professionals and patients alike may help prevent the onset of CLASBIs. When inserting central lines, medical providers may help keep patients safe by using appropriate hand hygiene, applying the proper skin prep agent and letting the skin antiseptic dry completely before inserting the line. Health care professionals should also use the five maximal barrier precautions when placing central lines. Once the line is placed, medical providers should adhere to the recommended maintenance practices and immediately take the line out when it is no longer needed.

For their part, patients should take care to avoid touching their catheters or tubing and ask their visitors to refrain from touching them as well. It is also advisable that patients take care not to get the bandaging around the insertion sites dirty or wet, and to notify their health care providers right away if it does. They should also tell their physicians or nurses if they experience any symptoms of a CLASBI, including red skin or soreness around the insertion site or fever.