Children's Hospital Colorado

Preventing Hospital-Acquired Conditions at Children's Hospital Colorado

Children's Hospital Colorado is committed to excellence in caring for kids. That includes preventing complications related to care. Below is an overview of prevention measures for hospital-acquired conditions we take at our locations throughout the region.

What is a hospital-acquired condition?

The term “hospital-acquired condition,” sometimes referred to as an HAC, is used to describe complications of treatment that patients develop while under hospital care. Some examples of hospital-acquired conditions are:

  • Infections that occur in the bloodstream or urinary tract when patients have devices in place
  • Infections after surgery
  • Falls
  • Pressure ulcers
  • Blood clots
  • Complications of treatments with medications

Many – but not all – of these conditions are preventable, which is why we continuously work to reduce the risk of these complications and potential harm to our patients.

Why do we measure the occurrence of HACs?

At Children’s Colorado, we measure the number of HACs that occur each month:

  • As part of our larger efforts to improve patient safety
  • To support us on our mission to provide the best healthcare outcomes for children
  • To give us the insights we need so we can prevent them whenever possible
  • To track our success in reducing their occurrence

If a patient experiences an HAC, we have systems and processes in place to quickly identify and respond to the complication. These formalized patient safety initiatives help us treat the patient as quickly and effectively as possible and to identify ways to prevent the issue in the future.

Working to prevent harm and hospital-acquired conditions

Twelve-month rolling total of hospital-acquired conditions in 2019

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The graph above shows a rolling total of hospital-acquired conditions. Each month shows the sum of the previous 12 months. The lower the number, the better.

Over this rolling 12-month period, we continued our work on preventable harm. The decrease in the number of hospital-acquired conditions reflects improvement in nearly all of the hospital-acquired conditions that we measured between 2018 and 2019.  Notably, in 2019 we had zero events due catheter associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI).  Our care teams continue to understand causes of hospital-acquired conditions and implement improvement strategies as we continue toward achieving our aspirational goal of eliminating preventable harm.

Since we began our focused work on eliminating preventable harm, we have seen a 50% to 75% reduction in the rate of these hospital-acquired conditions.

How does Children's Colorado prevent hospital-acquired conditions?

  • Target Zero: Eliminating Preventable Harm: Children’s Colorado has a patient safety program called Target Zero: Eliminating Preventable Harm. This is a multi-year effort and includes many projects, trainings, programs and approaches all aimed at improving patient safety in our hospitals and clinics.

  • Identifying and preventing risks: Many of our patients have complicated conditions and diseases that put them at a higher risk for the common complications of care. Because of this, we identify their risks and put in place various prevention strategies to help lower their risk and prevent hospital-acquired conditions and complications from happening.

  • Learning from the best: We are collaborating with more than 100 other children’s hospitals around the country so that together we can learn how to eliminate preventable patient harm. Our nurses and physicians follow national standards and help develop new strategies and best practices aimed at reducing risks to patients both here and in other children’s hospitals across the nation.

  • Creating a safe environment: Children's Colorado is committed to excellence in caring for kids. We work tirelessly to create a safe environment for our patients, and we’re always looking for new ways to improve safety at our hospital.

  • Involving patients and families: Patients and families play a central role in our healthcare teams. We educate and involve families in patient safety efforts related to their own care, empowering them to be their own advocates. Patients and their families are also important members of many of the committees and teams that are working to continuously improve care at Children’s Colorado.

See how our hospital and departments compare

As a top pediatric hospital, we’re not only dedicated to our patients and their families, but we’re also dedicated to transparency. We share this data so that parents know they’re getting high-quality, specialized care for their child when they’re in the hands of any of our 3,000+ pediatric experts.

See outcomes and data from our Breathing InstituteCenter for Cancer and Blood DisordersHeart Institute, Colorado Fetal Care Center and Orthopedics Institute. We've also published our most recent patient experience ratings, so you can see honest feedback from parents and patients about the care they receive.