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St. Joseph’s Receives $47,853 Grant for Infection Prevention Initiative

Clinical Excellence Grants from CareFusion Foundation Help Develop and Share Infection Prevention Best Practices

SYRACUSE – St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center today announced it was one of 11 hospitals across the U.S. to receive a Clinical Excellence Grant from the CareFusion Foundation. The grant is designed to help recipients develop and share infection prevention best practices.

St. Joseph’s intends to use the grant funding to help address Clostridium difficile (C. diff.) rates in the community by seeking to extend the success of its internal Antibiotic Stewardship Program to local long-term care facilities. The ASP’s goal is to reduce healthcare-associated infections through decreased use of antibiotics as well as to promote the appropriate use of these powerful medicines.

“Antibiotics are, of course, lifesaving drugs, but we should be careful to use them only when they are really indicated,” said Helen Jacoby, MD, St. Joseph’s infectious disease specialist who leads the ASP with Lisa Avery, PharmD, a pharmacy professor at St. John Fisher College Wegmans School of Pharmacy, and Bernie Delello, RPh, St. Joseph’s pharmacy director. “Antibiotics can have risks; the risks and benefits need to be balanced, so we will continue to get the benefits of antibiotics over the long term.”

Antibiotic overuse and misuse contribute significantly to the development of constantly adapting organisms which evolve to become ever more dangerous. According to the Centers for Disease Control, long-term care facilities and/or nursing homes are ideal collaborative locations for hospitals because “half of all hospital patients with C. diff. infections have the infection when admitted and may spread it within the facility.”

As a pilot program, St. Joseph’s will collaborate with Loretto to reduce C. diff. cases among its residents, and consequently among patients who present to St. Joseph’s with the infection. Loretto eagerly accepted the invitation to participate in this collaboration.

“The medical staff at Loretto looks forward to this collaborative effort to reduce the incidence of C. diff. colitis,” said Dennis Daly, MD, medical director for Loretto. “This pathogen has evolved into a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the elderly.”

Other programs selected for funding will address a range of infection prevention practices including patient and staff education, hand and environmental hygiene, skin preparation and clinical studies to establish tracking and prevention models for some of the most common health care associated infections (HAIs).

“We applaud St. Joseph’s for its innovative approach to continue striving to reduce infections at its institution,” said Dr. Carlos Nunez, Chief Medical Officer for CareFusion. “We believe the efforts being made at St. Joseph’s will have lasting effects here and at hospitals across the country as they share best practices to improve patient care and safety.”

The 2013 Clinical Excellence Grant program is designed to help organizations implement programs to measurably improve infection prevention practices in a health care setting or provide patient education and outreach related to infection prevention. In total, the CareFusion Foundation awarded nearly $520,000 to 11 hospitals across the U.S. To be eligible for grant funding—a one-time endowment of up to $50,000 per organization—U.S.-based nonprofit health care institutions were invited to submit a written proposal detailing their program plan and expected results. Preference was given to evidence-based programs with potential to serve as best practice models for reducing HAIs.

St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center is a non-profit, 431-bed hospital and health care system in Syracuse, New York, providing services to patients in 16 counties in Central New York State. Through prevention programs and the latest diagnostic treatment procedures, St. Joseph's works with patients to achieve optimum long-term health. A 14-time winner of the National Research Corporation Consumer Choice award, St. Joseph’s is affiliated with Franciscan Companies and sponsored by the Sisters of St. Francis.

Established in 2009, the CareFusion Foundation exists to create and support opportunities to improve the safety and cost of health care for generations to come. The Foundation also supports non-profit organizations that improve the wellness of communities where CareFusion employees live and work. More information may be found at www.carefusion.com/giving.