Community Health Network

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News release

Community Hospital East’s ICU celebrates five years without ventilator-acquired pneumonia; Community’s infection control practice a model for hospitals nationwide

For release: 2/18/2009

Indianapolis, IN----CommunityHospital East, a recognized leader in the prevention of ventilator acquired pneumonia (VAP), recently celebrated five years of VAP-free status in its intensive care unit (ICU). Through collaboration and comprehensive education, Community Hospital East has established a successful infection control process that continues to be adopted at hospital ICUs across the country.

“This accomplishment is world class. The commitment by the staff to achieve this milestone is unprecedented,” said Steve Hultgren, interim president of Community Hospital East. “This is truly a time to be proud of an exceptional event in patient safety at Community Health Network.”

Community’s initiative to eliminate VAP, an infection that can occur in hospital patients who are on mechanical ventilation, began as collaboration among nurses, doctors, infection control staff, respiratory therapists and radiology technicians at Community East. Education for staff was formalized in 1998, and the process has continually been refined to improve rates of infection.

“This program has allowed us to enhance patient safety by eliminating a preventable error,” said Sherri Crawford, R.N., clinical director at Community Hospital East. “We’re up to five years and counting without a case of VAP in our ICU.”

Community’s program builds awareness of the key contributors to pneumonia development and establishes practices that prevent infection. Among them: regular hand washing and glove wearing; elevating the head of the patient’s bed at an angle of 30º; mobilizing patients twice a day to improve air flow and circulation; and maintaining the patient’s mouth hygiene.

“We have built a culture of accountability, one in which staff members coach each other,” said Crawford. “It’s a non-threatening approach that allows all of us to ask questions and reinforce good behaviors.”

Community’s ICU clinicians regularly host site visits and offer consultations and training to their counterparts at hospitals across the country. In 2008, Community East was named a leading practice hospital by VHA Inc., a national health care alliance, for establishing effective and efficient care for VAP.

The Community Hospital East infection control process for VAP has been implemented at all Community Health Network ICUs, and all seven have gone at least one year without a case of VAP.

CommunityHospital East is a comprehensive acute care facility located at 1500 N. Ritter Ave.  With a vast array of surgical capabilities, emergency room services, cardiovascular care, comprehensive cancer care, total joint program, and an innovative wound healing center, CommunityHospital East provides an exceptional patient and family experience.  Ranked among the top 10 integrated health care networks in the nation, Community Health Network has more than 70 sites of care throughout central Indiana. This includes Community Hospitals East, North and South in Indianapolis and Community Hospital Anderson; The Indiana Heart Hospital, a dedicated heart hospital; Indiana Surgery Centers; Community Physicians of Indiana; Community Home Health Services; MedCheck urgent care centers and MEDPOINT express convenience clinics; employer health services; nursing homes; and other health care facilities. Community Health Network is committed to getting you well and back to your life. For more information about Community Health Network or to find a physician, call 800-777-7775 or visit


Lynda de Widt
Media Relations
Community Hospital East

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