Home News & Events About Us Patient Information Services Employment Finance Foundation Community

Infection Prevention

Nationwide, hundreds of thousands of patients per year develop infections in the hospital. Infections can cause complications and increase the risk of readmission. Preventing post-operative infection is a vital component of a successful surgical program. At Star Valley Medical Center, we are committed to reducing our patient infection rates to zero. Our orthopedic infection rate is already well below the national average and our performance on nationally recognized best practice measures is near perfect.

What we do to prevent infections
Our groundbreaking infection prevention program has brought us both recognition and results. We start with a state-of-the-art facility, high standards of cleanliness, and a hospital-wide focus on hand hygiene. We add leading-edge practices like anti-microbial-impregnated sutures for all surgeries, silver-impregnated catheters, clorhexadine surgical skin preparation, and advanced eradication measures for drug-resistant bacteria. It all adds up to fewer infections and more successful procedures.

Surgical infection prevention best practices

We have achieved near-perfect compliance with best practices for the prevention of surgical infections. The three measures tracked involve the appropriate dosing, timing and discontinuance of antibiotics. Studies show that these practices lead to a lower incidence of infection.

Antibiotic-resistant organisms

In the last thirty years, the world has seen a dramatic increase in infection from drug-resistant organisms. The term MRSA is used to describe the most common of these organisms. It stands for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. In 1974, MRSA accounted for 2% of all staph infections in the United States. By 2004, it was 63%. To meet this growing threat, we have established a program to identify and eliminate the organism prior to surgery.

Hand Hygiene

Hand hygiene is the single-most important procedure performed in the hospital for preventing the spread of infection to you, the patient. The Hospital requires its staff to comply with the latest guidelines for hand hygiene from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). All over the Hospital, you will see dispensers for alcohol-based hand rub and anti-bacterial foam. During our recent accreditation survey, our staff demonstrated 100% compliance with hand hygiene.

What you can do to prevent infections

Patients who are well-nourished and healthy have a much lower risk of infection. Pay attention to your diet and exercise both before and after surgery. In addition, if you smoke, think about quitting. Smokers are at higher risk of infection and require a longer recovery period. You should also pay attention to hand hygiene - your own and that of your health care team. Finally, do not touch your own incision, as this can lead to infection.

Hand Hygiene

Although our staff is conscientious about hand hygiene, it is always helpful if patients give them a gentle reminder. Feel free to ask your doctor, nurse, and anyone who enters your room: "Did you wash or sanitize your hands?" You can also ask the same question of anyone on your health care team who is about to make direct physical contact with you or to touch the things that are used in your care, whether in your room or anywhere else in the Hospital.