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Valley Children’s Clinical Teams Reach Milestone for Patient Safety

MADERA  – Valley Children’s commitment to providing the safest patient care is central to clinical operations – and clinical teams have reached an important milestone of 12 months without a single central line-associated blood stream infection (CLABSI).

“This accomplishment was achieved after a decade-long commitment to eliminating this harm to our patients. This was possible because of a dedicated team effort, multiple iterations to perfect the insertion and the maintenance of lines and most importantly, a change in our perspective,” says Valley Children’s Vice President of Quality, Patient Safety and Medical Affairs Dr. Karen Dahl. “Many of us were taught in medical school that infections were an inevitable part of central lines – if you have one long enough, it will get infected. But as we came to believe this was simply not true and we could do better for our patients, the team pushed even harder.”

Central lines, such as central venous catheters (CVCs) and peripherally inserted central lines (PICCs), are useful tools for patients who are in need of frequent blood draws, nutrition and intravenous medication. Some of the tiniest babies are no strangers to having a central line to administer these treatments. A central line is placed in the patient’s veins through the groin, neck, chest or arms.

While a central line increases the risk of bacteria or other germs entering the blood stream if not properly cared for, it is preferred over having to poke a patient for each treatment. A little infection can quickly turn into a life-or-death matter because some of our youngest patients don’t have fully developed immune systems.

The team’s success is fostered by adhering to the CLABSI bundle elements – a collection of tools that promote strict safety guidelines – and taking a team approach to the management of central lines.

“This milestone is a testament to the hard work of our care teams and our organizational commitment to patient safety,” says Dr. David Christensen, Valley Children’s senior vice president of medical affairs and chief physician executive. “During a time when our world is facing health uncertainties, families in the Central Valley can count on us to provide the best care for their kids if they are in need.”

Valley Children’s was recently recognized for quality and patient safety as one of the nation’s Top Children’s Hospitals by the Leapfrog Group for the second year in a row. Additionally, for the fourth consecutive year, Valley Children’s received the Beacon Award for Excellence from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses – an award that recognizes the unit’s exceptional patient care and healthy work environment.

During the unprecedented year of 2020, when patient care was paramount to our country and the world, Valley Children’s continues to be a trusted source to care for kids, now more than ever.



About Valley Children’s Healthcare

Valley Children’s Healthcare – one of the largest pediatric healthcare networks in the nation – provides Central California’s only high-quality, comprehensive care exclusively for children, from before birth to young adulthood. Our network offers highly specialized medical and surgical services to care for children with conditions ranging from common to the highly complex at its 330-bed stand-alone children’s hospital or in one of their three neonatal units (28 beds) located across the Valley. In addition, the Valley Children’s Healthcare network includes specialty care centers, pediatric primary care practices, urgent care center and women’s health services.


Our family-centered, pediatric services extend from a leading pediatric cancer and blood diseases center on the West Coast, and a pediatric heart center known for its expertise and pioneering treatments, to a Regional Level IV neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), the highest level referral center between Los Angeles and the Bay Area.


Valley Children’s was the first children’s hospital west of the Rockies to receive Magnet Nursing designation, the highest nursing benchmark in the world. In 2020, U.S. News and World Report named Valley Children’s one of the best children’s hospitals in the country in seven pediatric specialties. With more than 640 physicians and 3,500 staff, Valley Children’s delivers high-quality, comprehensive care to more than 1.3 million from Kern County to the Capital and from the Central Coast to the Sierra.


For more information, please visit www.valleychildrens.org

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