HUH Hosts Education Bus to Combat Deadly Hospital Infections

By Amber Ravenell
Office of University Communications

WASHINGTON –More than 19,000 people died last year in American hospitals from an infection they acquired during their stay in the hospital for something else.   That was more than the number of people who died the same year from HIV/AIDS.

The bad news is that the numbers have been growing in recent years, according to federal officials.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) statistics report approximately one out of every 20 hospitalized patients contracts healthcare associated infections (HAI), infections that patients acquire during the course of receiving healthcare treatment for other conditions.  Fortunately, most patients survive those infections.  Still HAI costs the U.S. healthcare system billions of dollars a year, HHS says.

“It is a big thing,” said Angella Browne, infections control officer for Howard University Hospital (HUH). “The public can judge hospitals by their quality care ranking, and a big part of quality care is hospital associated infections.”

HUH is committed to combatting this serious public health problem, Browne said.  Consequently, the hospital is hosting the Kimberly-Clark Education Bus from Monday, Oct. 15, and Tuesday, Oct. 16.  The bus will be available from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday and 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Tuesday.

The bus is part of a national infection prevention campaign for healthcare professionals.  The 45-foot, customized vehicle delivers continuing education programs based on the latest research and provides doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals with access to expert speakers, group presentations, round table discussions and useful information on preventing infections, such as surgical site infection and ventilator-associated pneumonia, Browne said.

It is open to the hospital staff as well as all students of the Howard University College of Medicine, College of Pharmacy, College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences. 

The specialized training on the bus is a part of Infection Prevention Week, which begins on Oct. 15.

“Employees will be able to go into that bus and see important information and 21st Century technology related to preventing healthcare associated infections,” Browne said.  “I am very excited about it.”

There will be 14 modules in which employees can get information on how to prevent infections, including courses on selecting the right medical gloves, disinfection and sterilization, and respiratory protection.  HUH is one of the first hospitals in the district to have access to the KC Education bus, Browne said.

Posters and flyers will be posted throughout the hospital as a reminder of caregivers’ commitment to reducing HAI rates at HUH. Patient safety tips will also be available to educate community members about the steps they can take to help protect themselves and others from infection.

“I want Howard University to be the number one hospital,” Browne said. “I want everyone to know that HUH is interested in its patients and is interested in quality care. And the public will see that when they see this bus.”

For more information please, contact Angella Browne at 202-865-6335

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