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Patient Safety Indicators

Patient safety is our number-one priority at Hamilton Health Sciences. A big part of that commitment is routinely monitoring, tracking and reporting our hospital-acquired infection rates. Hospital-acquired infections are spread through bacteria and viruses. These same bacteria and viruses can also be found in the community.

By tracking our infection rates, we can identify where issues exist and take the necessary measures to improve. Information about infection rates is available on the Health Quality Ontario website.

Central line bloodstream infections (CLI)

CLI occurs when a central venous catheter (or “line”) placed into a patient’s vein gets infected. This happens when bacteria grow in the line and spreads to the patient’s blood stream. Learn about the risk factors for CLI, what constitutes a “case,” what determines the “CLI rate,” and view metrics from past reporting periods.

Clostridium difficile infections (CDI)

Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) is a spore-forming bacteria that is present in the environment and can affect up to 3-5% of adults in the community without causing symptoms. C. difficile has been a known cause of healthcare-associated diarrhea for about 30 years. C. difficile can be picked up on the hands from exposure in the environment, and can get into the stomach once the mouth is touched, or if food is handled and then swallowed.

Hand hygiene compliance

The single most common way of transferring health care-associated infections in a health care setting is on the hands of health care providers. Health care providers move from patient to patient and room to room while providing care and working in the patient environment. This movement provides many opportunities for the transmission of organisms on hands that can cause infections. Monitoring hand hygiene practices is vital to improving rates and, in turn, reducing health care-associated infections.

Hospital standardized mortality ratio

Hospital standardized mortality ratio (HSMR) is an overall quality indicator that compares a hospital’s mortality rate with the national average, accounting for the types of patients cared for. HSMR is calculated as the ratio of the actual number of deaths to the expected number of deaths, multiplied by 100. It has been used by many hospitals worldwide to assess and analyze mortality rates and to identify areas for improvement.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) blood stream infections

Sometimes when patients are admitted to the hospital, they can get infections. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a hospital-acquired infection. It is a type of bacteria that is resistant to certain or all types of antibiotics.

Surgical safety checklist (SSCL)

The Surgical Safety Checklist promotes communication and teamwork and furthers the organization’s patient safety efforts. This tool, which is now mandatory in all Ontario hospitals, is designed to get Operating Room teams talking about the procedure that they are about to perform, and has been shown to reduce the rates of death and complications among patients. Hospitals are required to publicaly report quarterly their compliance rates with the new protocols.

Surgical site infections (SSI)

Surgical site infections occur when harmful germs enter a patient’s body through the surgical site (any cut the surgeon makes in the skin to perform the operation). Infections happen because germs are everywhere. One of the ways to prevent surgical site infections is by giving patients an antibiotic.

Vancomycin-resistant Enterococci (VRE) blood stream infections

Enterococci are bacteria that are normally present in the human intestines and in the female genital tract and are often found in the environment. These bacteria can sometimes cause infections. Vancomycin is an antibiotic that is often used to treat infections caused by enterococci. In some instances, enterococci have become resistant to this drug and thus are called vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE).

Ventilator associated pneumonia (VAP)

VAP is defined as pneumonia (a serious lung infection) that can occur in patients (specifically intensive care unit patients) who need assistance breathing with a mechanical ventilator (machine to assist breathing) for at least 48 hours.