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Shepherd Center Earns Award for Preventing and Controlling Hospital-Acquired Infections

Shepherd Center announced today that it is the recipient of the Josh Nahum Special Award for Achievement in the Infection Prevention and Control category from the Partnership for Health and Accountability (PHA), a subsidiary of the Georgia Hospital Association. The award is part of the annual PHA Quality and Patient Safety Award program and offered in collaboration with Kimberly-Clark and the Safe Care Campaign.

Specifically, Shepherd Center was recognized for its efforts to reduce hospital-acquired MRSA Infections, which are common among people who have weak immune systems and are in hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare centers.

Infections can appear around surgical wounds or devices, such as catheters or implanted feeding tubes. Rates of infection in hospitals, especially intensive care units, are rising throughout the world. In U.S. hospitals, MRSA causes more than 60 percent of staph infections, according to WebMD.

The PHA Quality and Patient Safety Award recognizes healthcare organizations for achievement in implementing evidence-based processes and best practices in reducing the risk of adverse outcomes and improving patient safety and quality. The Josh Nahum Special Achievement Award for Infection Prevention and Control was established in 2007 by Victoria and Armando Nahum, in partnership with Kimberly-Clark and the Georgia Hospital Association, in memory of their son Josh, who died from a healthcare-associated infection.

“Keeping our patients safe and infection free is our No. 1 priority, which is evident based on this recognition,” says Gary Ulicny, Ph.D., Shepherd Center president and CEO.

Since 2011, Shepherd Center has reduced the rate of MRSA by more than 50 percent, resulting in 20 fewer patients each year acquiring MRSA. While Shepherd Center staff has always used Standard Precautions to treat patients, early identification of MRSA using nasal swab testing upon admission was key to this project. Prior to initiating the new practice, the 2011 MRSA rate was 0.74 per 1,000 patients days, resulting in 30 patients with MRSA. In 2013, the rate has declined to 0.31 per 1,000 patient days with only 10 cases of MRSA.  Shepherd Center’s evidence-based practice is leading to safer care for patients. 

“Infection prevention and control is key to patient safety,” said GHA President Earl V. Rogers. “We applaud Shepherd Center for their leadership efforts in this area and for providing safe and effective patient care.”

Shepherd Center will receive the award during a recognition ceremony on Jan. 8, 2014, at The Ritz Carlton Lodge at Reynolds Plantation in Greensboro, Ga.

About Shepherd Center

Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neurological conditions. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. In its more than four decades, Shepherd Center has grown from a six-bed rehabilitation unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed hospital that treats more than 740 inpatients, nearly 280 day program patients and more than 7,100 outpatients each year in more than 46,000 visits.