Central line–associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) have a considerable impact on morbidity, length of stay, and potential mortality. The estimated per-case cost of CLABSIs is $11,000–$56,167, and there is consensus that most are preventable. Publicly reported CLABSI data are also now used as a metric to compare hospitals.
There are published guidelines for the prevention of central line–associated infections, but these practices have not been studied in burn patients. Patients with severe burns pose unique and specific challenges and differ substantially from the typical medical or surgical intensive care unit (ICU) patient. Our objective was to assess CLABSI prevention practices in burn units.
We identified all American Burn Association (ABA)–certified adult burn centers through the ABA website (http://www.ameriburn.org) and contacted nursing leadership of each burn intensive care unit to conduct a telephone survey of CLABSI prevention practices in March 2012. The survey project was approved by the Johns Hopkins institutional review board.
We had 100% survey participation. There was substantial variation among burn units in the number of beds, the mix of patients, and the acuity of patients' illness. Bed size varied from 4 to 38. Eight units stated that their burn unit incorporated a step-down unit or floor-status beds in their bed count. Thirty (58.8%) of the 51 units defined themselves as mixed burn/surgical or trauma units. The percentage of burned patients seen in the burn units varied from 10% to 100%, with 8 (15.4%) of 51 units stating that their census consisted of fewer than 30% burned patients in their burn ICU.