Tuesday, December 18, 2007

MHA Graduate, Virginia Lipke, Receives International Award


Contact Denise Graham, Vice President, Public Policy—(202) 454-2617 dgraham@apic.org

FORT THOMAS, KY—A St. Luke’s Hospital infection control practitioner whose successful efforts to initiate a program whereby inpatients receive influenza and/or pneumococcal vaccines has earned her the prestigious international title of “2007APIC Hero of Infection Prevention.”
Virginia “Ginny” Lipke, RN, BS, ACRN, CIC, Infection Control Practitioner for both St. Luke’s east and west hospitals, has been named December’s Hero by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), an 11,000 member international association headquartered in Washington, DC. The “Heroes” program recognizes those who have contributed significantly to the reduction of infection and who are impacting the health, safety and well-being of patients, healthcare workers and the public. Lipke, a Cincinnati resident, launched a personal campaign to implement a series of infection prevention programs, including a policy whereby hospitalized patients are approached by a nurse and asked if they would be interested in either a flu or pneumonia vaccine, or both. Prior to Lipke’s initiation of this program, no policy along these lines existed at St. Luke’s Hospital. Today, this is a standing order to both screen and administer vaccines if patients so choose, without need for a physician order, making The St. Luke’s hospitals the first among Cincinnati and/or northern Kentucky hospitals to implement this program.
As a result, between 96%-98% of qualified patients are being screened and vaccinated; a figure that was as low as 10% less than three years ago.
“Our goal is to have 100% of our patients asked if they want either vaccine, once it’s determined they’re eligible,” said Lipke.
In addition to this successful program, Lipke has also authored the oral care component of St. Luke’s ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) bundle program.
“This is a very important program,” said Lipke. “Bacteria from the mouth can drain into a patient’s system and easily set up a case of pneumonia. We added oral care for our patients every four hours to our bundle.”
The program resulted in no new cases of ventilator-associated pneumonias reported during a 19-month period, which has become a hospital record. For the past 34 months, none of the patients who have occupied the 29 combined Intensive Care Unit beds within St. Luke’s two hospitals have had a VAP.
“One of the keys to our success—besides oral care—is because we do in-services every six months and oral care has become standard for ICU patients,” said Lipke.
Lipke also created a policy for rapid HIV testing for mothers with no prenatal care, making St. Luke’s the first in the region to offer such testing. While the HIV rate is relatively low in northern Kentucky, Lipke said, “I felt it should still be offered as a tool for pregnant women with no prenatal history. “If we can get anti-viruals to women during labor, there’s a good chance the baby will be born negative from these diseases.”
She has also started an early sexually transmitted disease treatment program within the hospital’s Emergency Department, which includes free STD medication from the state and the Centers for Disease Control. This comes in response to increases in area cases of Chlamydia and Gonorrhea.
Lipke has been a registered nurse since 1994 and an Infection Control Professional since 1999. For many years prior, she was a licensed practical nurse.
She is among 12 other healthcare professionals to be honored this year through APIC’s highly-successful “Heroes of Infection Prevention” program, funded through a grant from Tyco Healthcare/Kendall, makers of DoverTM urological and AMDTM wound care products.
APIC’s mission is to improve health and patient safety by reducing risks of infection and other adverse outcomes. The Association’s more than 11,000 members have primary responsibility for infection prevention, control and hospital epidemiology in health care settings around the globe. APIC advances its mission through education, research, collaboration, practice guidance, public policy and credentialing. Visit APIC online at https://mail.apic.org/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=https://mail.apic.org/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.apic.org/