East Hawaii News

Hilo Nurse Honored for Education to Reduce Infections

June 7, 2013, 1:23 PM HST
* Updated June 7, 6:59 PM
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A registered nurse at a Hilo nursing home is being honored by a national organization for her efforts to improve the health and well-being of the facility’s residents.

Dianne Adkins is one of a dozen health-care professionals and groups named “Heroes of Infection Prevention” by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.

Adkins, who works at the Hale Anuenue Restorative Care Center, was one of three recipients recognized for their contributions in the education category.

While overall infection rates at the 120-bed facility on Waianuenue Avenue were low, Adkins noted that urinary tract infections comprised a third of the extended-care facility’s total, APIC said in a statement. The majority were among woman, including some with mild-to-moderate dementia.

Adkins figured that an education program could help reduce the occurrence of UTIs.

However, she could not find one available for residents in a long-term-care setting, particularly for those with cognitive difficulties. So she set off to create one of her own.

“Just because there isn’t a model doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing,” she said.

Adkin's employer, Hale Anuenue Restorative Care Center, is located on Waianuenue Avenue in Hilo. Courtesy photo.

Adkin’s employer, Hale Anuenue Restorative Care Center, is located on Waianuenue Avenue in Hilo. Courtesy photo.

APIC said after consulting with various staff members at Hale Anuenue, Adkins developed a culturally sensitive education program.

To help ensure residents’ comfort and to generate interest, she enlisted the support of social workers, activities staff and food service staff.

After the program was established, E. coli-related UTIs dropped to eight from 26 in a single year, APIC said.

Her efforts also “empowered and enlivened” the facility’s residents, the organization said.

“It really went far beyond self-care instruction,” Adkins said. “Residents were honored to be included in our goals. One stopped me to say, ‘Thank you for finding me worthy of education.’”

Adkins will be on hand to receive her award during APIC’s annual conference being held Saturday through Monday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

This year’s honorees, which include individuals as well as infection prevention teams, come from 11 states and from the nation of India.

With more than 14,000 members, APIC is the leading professional association for infection preventionists. Its goal is to create a safer world through the prevention of infection.

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