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When it comes to CLABSI – zero is our hero!
March 17, 2018

Care in our NICU

The smallest, sickest and most medically complex newborns in Central Virginia get the dedicated, specialized care they need right here at CHoR in our neonatal intensive care unit. 

The NICU’s quiet surroundings, 32 private rooms and advanced technologies create a healing environment for premature and critically ill newborns, and their families. Father Touching Head Of A Premature Baby In Incubator

Central line infections – zero is our hero!

Central lines are a key part of the care provided in an intensive care unit environment, including the NICU. A central line is placed in a large vein to give the medical team access to give medication or fluids and collect blood for testing. Central lines access a major vein and can remain in place for weeks or even months. While central lines provide convenient and critical access and fewer “pokes and prods” for a newborn, a central line-associated bloodstream infection can be dangerous, and even deadly.

A CLABSI is a serious infection that can occur when bacteria or viruses enter the bloodstream through a central line.  There are many steps that health care providers and patient families can take to help reduce the rate of CLABSI, however an extensive period (such as a year) without a central line-associated blood stream infection is not easy and is something that all ICUs strive to achieve.

“The fragility of our patients and the long length of time they require central lines make this a difficult goal to achieve in NICUs across the country,” said Russell Moores, MD, medical director of the NICU.

NICU doctor in white coat“It’s a goal we have never achieved in our NICU – until today!”
– Russell Moores, MD, medical director of the NICU

Reducing CLABSI rates helps improve outcomes for premature and critically ill babies. It can also reduce mortality and the amount of time a baby stays in the hospital.


NICU team members celebrating with cake


Zero CLABSIs in one year isn’t a goal that can be accomplished by one discipline. It takes dedication and effort from the entire NICU team.

“We achieved this tremendous goal through a true interdisciplinary effort – from our nurses and neonatologists, to our respiratory therapists and occupational therapists – everyone was involved,” said Moores.

A CLABSI can occur shortly after a line is placed or long after placement. Lines are manipulated many times a day and hundreds of times during an infant’s stay in the hospital, and there is a risk for infection every time the line is touched.

“With an interdisciplinary team including more than 100 nurses, the saying ‘we are only as strong as our weakest link’ rings true with this achievement,” said Sharon Cone, PhD, nurse manager of the NICU. “Everyone has to commit to this quality improvement initiative. Everyone can make an impact.”

The entire team pulled together – not for the excitement of accomplishing the goal – but for patients and their families.

The dedicated and experienced NICU team includes:

  • Board-certified neonatologists
  • Registered nurses with certifications in high risk neonatal nursing
  • Certified neonatal nurse practitioners
  • Neonatal medicine fellows
  • Pharmacists
  • Nutritionists
  • Infection prevention specialists
  • Occupational, speech and physical therapists
  • Pediatric residents
  • Pediatric respiratory therapists
  • Social workers and care coordinators
  • Sub-specialists from all pediatric areas including cardiac surgery, anesthesiology, nephrology, cardiology, pulmonary medicine and infectious diseases

Connect with us

Join us in congratulating the team on this life-saving milestone! Is your child a NICU grad? Leave a note for the team in the comments.

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