Patient Safety: Infection Prevention

Preventing Healthcare-Associated Infections

Help the staff at Mount Auburn Hospital protect your and your loved ones’ health by taking steps to prevent the spread of infectious diseases in our facilities.

If a patient gets an infection while being treated for another condition, that’s called a healthcare-associated infection (HAI). At Mount Auburn Hospital our staff provide safe care to you and your loved ones by consistently using infection-prevention procedures and precautions, including:

  • Frequent hand washing
  • Sterilizing equipment between patients
  • Prescribing antibiotics responsibly
  • Using protective gloves, masks and gowns as appropriate
  • Staying up-to-date with immunizations
  • Following hospital guidelines when handling blood or contaminated items
  • Following infection control steps recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

How To Interpret Our Data

Infections are reported using a standardized infection ratio (SIR). The SIR compares the actual number of infections at a hospital to a national benchmark of 1.00 based on data reported to the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN). Lower numbers are better. Data are from CMS Care Compare January 2023 Update.

Central Line-Associated Bloodstream Infections (CLABSI)

A central line is a long, narrow tube that goes into a vein and ends at the heart. It’s used to provide nutrients and medicine or take blood samples. Central lines need special care to prevent serious infections. This data shows the number of central lines associated bloodstream infections compared with the national benchmark.

Mount Auburn Hospital .53
CDC NHSN Benchmark 1.00

Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections (CAUTI)

Catheters collect urine from your bladder when you’re not able to use the bathroom. Catheters need special care to prevent serious urinary tract infections. This data shows the number of catheter-associated urinary tract infections compared with the national benchmark.

Mount Auburn Hospital .693
CDC NHSN Benchmark 1.00

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) Infections

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) is a bacteria that’s resistant to certain antibiotics. Patients are tested for a bloodstream MRSA infection if they show symptoms while in the hospital. This data shows the number of positive MRSA tests compared with the national benchmark.

Mount Auburn Hospital 1.30
CDC NHSN Benchmark 1.00

Clostridium Difficile (C. diff.) Infections

Clostridium Difficile is a type of bacteria that infects the intestines, causing severe diarrhea and abdominal pain. Patients are tested for a C. diff. bacterial intestinal infection if they show symptoms, such as diarrhea and abdominal pain. This data shows the number of positive C. diff tests compared with the national benchmark.

Mount Auburn Hospital .135
CDC NHSN Benchmark 1.00

Preventing Influenza

Vaccination of healthcare personnel is not only associated with reduced flu risk and work absenteeism, but also with fewer deaths among elderly hospitalized patients.

Healthcare Personnel Immunization for Influenza

Mount Auburn Hospital: 99%
State of Massachusetts Average: 96%
United States Average: 86%

Preventing Infections

At the Hospital

Help the Mount Auburn Hospital care team prevent hospital-acquired infections and keep yourself and others healthy with these simple actions.

Follow Our Visitor Guidelines

If you’re a visitor, protect your loved ones and others in the hospital by following our visitor guidelines. If your loved one is in a room with an isolation sign, stop at the nurses’ station before entering and follow directions to prevent the spread of germs.

Stay home if you’re sick, have a fever or think you may have been exposed to contagious diseases such as chickenpox or the flu. If you’re unsure if you should visit, call your doctor or nurse and ask them about your symptoms.

Follow Pre- and Post-Surgery Instructions

When you’re scheduled for surgery or other medical procedures, your doctor will provide instructions on what to do before you come to the hospital. This may include how to prepare your skin, medications you should or shouldn’t take, and other instructions depending on the type of surgery. Follow these instructions carefully to help prevent infection and other problems.

You’ll also receive instructions on how to care for yourself after you leave the hospital. This may include prescription medications, information about caring for your surgery site and physical activity recommendations. You’ll also receive guidelines on when and who to call if you think you’re experiencing a surgical complication. Follow these instructions carefully to reduce your risk of infection and to make sure any infection gets treated early.

Care For Your Catheter

Your care team may use a thin, flexible tube called a catheter to deliver fluids, medications or nutrition to your body; to drain fluids from wounds; or to remove urine from your bladder. Sometimes, you need to go home with the catheter still in place. Ask your doctor or nurse why you need a catheter and what you should do to prevent infection. Make sure you understand what you and your caregivers need to do to keep your catheter clean and functional.

Our Infection Prevention Measures

Your Mount Auburn Hospital care team is always working to protect your health while you’re in our facilities. Learn about what we’re doing to prevent infections every day.

At Home

Prevent infections and keep yourself and others healthy with these simple everyday actions.

Keep Your Skin Healthy

Your skin is your armor against harmful bacteria. Use moisturizer to protect it from dryness and cracking. Clean cuts, scratches and wounds, and protect them with a clean, dry bandage. If you have cuts or sores that aren’t healing, call your primary care provider.

Practice Good Gym Hygiene

To prevent your workout from making you sick:

  • Clean exercise equipment with antibacterial wipes before and after each use.
  • Clean personal protective equipment, such as helmets and jock straps, with antibacterial wipes after each use. Never share personal equipment.
  • Shower after working out and use a clean towel to dry off.
  • Wear sandals in the locker room to prevent foot infections.
When You're Sick, Stay Home

Avoid close contact with others when you’re ill. Stay home from work or school and steer clear of crowds. Don’t shake hands or touch others, and always cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze.

Use Antibiotics Responsibly

Take antibiotics only when they’re the most appropriate treatment for your bacterial infection. Follow your doctor’s directions and always complete the full course of treatment. Stopping early may allow the infection to return even stronger.

Tips for Preventing the Spread of MRSA or VRE

If you’re caring for a friend or family member with a MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) or VRE (vancomycin-resistant enterococcus) infection, follow these tips to lower your risk of developing an infection yourself:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after direct contact with your loved one, and before leaving home.
  • Use disposable gloves when providing care if you expect contact with body fluids. Always wash your hands after removing the gloves.
  • Regularly clean the house, including furniture used by your loved one, using normal household cleaning products.
  • Wash towels after each use.

Contact Us

Call to get in touch with a member of the Mount Auburn Hospital team.

Infectious Diseases

Learn more about infectious disease care from the experts at Mount Auburn Hospital.