(Machias) Down East Community Hospital is implementing a new technique when it comes to patient safety. After attending the national Association for Professionals in Infection Control meeting in Baltimore, MD, Infection Preventionist Donna Stanley-Kelley, RN, CIC, brought home a great idea called “The Red Line Project”. All healthcare workers are required to wear a gown, gloves and sometimes a mask when they enter a patient’s room who has been admitted with a potentially transmissible disease. Now, with this initiative, the healthcare worker can enter the room up to a “red line”, a simple piece of red vinyl tape that has been adhered to the floor, which allows the healthcare worker to step further into the room to periodically check in on the patient without wearing the gown, gloves or mask and without creating any risk for the patient. Once the healthcare worker needs to enter beyond the red line to care for the patient, they put on the necessary gloves, gown or mask.
This new process is important because now the healthcare worker will have more frequent interaction with the patient and there will also be a time and a costs savings. Studies have shown that a facility may save an estimated ten dollars per day, per patient and save an estimated thirty minutes per day per healthcare worker in regards to the time it takes to don the gloves, gown or mask. Doug Jones, Down East Community CEO, enthusiastically endorsed this change saying, “As important as is the need to save costs and increase efficiency, it is essential to maintain more normal interactions with our patients than is possible when one is covered head-to-toe with protective materials, add to this the reduction in plastic and paper entering the waste stream. This reflects our values in Down East Maine.”