Doha, 29 September, 2019: A quality improvement project implemented at Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Enaya Specialized Care Center has led to the successful reduction of hospital-acquired pneumonia within that facility.
Dr. Hanadi Al Hamad, Senior Consultant and Chairperson of Geriatrics and Long Term Care at HMC explained that many of the patients cared for at the Enaya Specialized Care Center are at risk for developing pneumonia due to having multiple chronic conditions, underscoring the significance of the improvement project.
“The number of patients requiring long-term care facilities is expected to increase dramatically over the next 30 years, with an increasing number of elderly people in Qatar experiencing higher levels of functional disability and other medical illnesses. Over 130 patients are currently cared for at the Enaya Specialized Care Center and many of them are susceptible to pneumonia due to their age and pre-existing chronic health conditions,” said Dr. Al Hamad.
Pneumonia is an infection that inflames the air sacs in one or both lungs. A variety of organisms, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi, can cause pneumonia. Pneumonia can range in seriousness from mild to life-threatening. It is most serious for infants and young children, those over the age of 65 years, and individuals with health conditions or weakened immune systems.
Dr. Shafi Hashmath Ulla Khan, Consultant Geriatrician at HMC, noted that the primary aim of initiating the improvement project was to reduce the incidence of hospital-acquired pneumonia at the Enaya Specialized Care Center. He explained that pneumonia has consistently been a global leading cause of morbidity and mortality among elderly patients residing in long-term care facilities.
“Studies have shown that the incidence of pneumonia among long-term care residents ranges from 0.27 to 2.50 per 1,000 patient days, with mortality ranging from 12 percent to 44 percent,” said Dr. Khan.
“The Enaya leadership team identified the need to tackle pneumonia and we formed a multi-disciplinary taskforce team to collaboratively work to identify the best strategies for the reduction and prevention of incidences of pneumonia. We first ensured there was adequate staffing at the facility, and that staff was appropriately trained, and we also updated our policies to ensure maximum compliance with the Aspiration Prevention Bundle. Alert signs were placed in high-risk areas and enhanced monitoring of new cases of pneumonia was implemented. We also encouraged flu vaccinations for both patients and staff in addition to ensuring compliance with our hand hygiene policies,” added Dr. Khan.
The Aspiration Prevention Bundle is a tool that contains a systematic set of interventions that requires medical and nursing staff to take specific steps designed to reduce or prevent the occurrence of hospital-acquired pneumonia.
Dr. Khan notes that due to the initiation of the improvement project, there was an overall pneumonia incidence rate reduction from 0.5 to 0 per 1,000 patient days at the facility. He added that the initiative also led to an increase in flu vaccination compliance among the facility’s staff.