Feb 21, 2014

How Can You Help??

As you know, I’ve recently accepted a position on the Board of Directors for the AVA Foundation (AVAF).  (www.ava-foundation.net)

About the Foundation:  The AVA Foundation is dedicated to saving lives through risk-free vascular access. We promote evidence-based clinical practice. We serve clinicians interested in vascular access, students of the healthcare professions, and vascular access patients and their families.

Their three main areas of focus are:

  1. Research (Providing funds for primary research which will provide the data for the necessary evidence for vascular access care.)
  2. Education (Providing educational funds to healthcare providers so that they may provide vascular access care at the highest level. Providing funding for educational projects that promote quality vascular access care to patients.)
  3. Community Outreach (Supporting community initiatives focused on improving patient outcomes. Promoting risk free vascular access at every inpatient and outpatient facility. Funding projects that will improve vascular access use and care.)

  • Did you know that nursing schools are not required to teach ANYTHING about Vascular Access?  And most do not even spend ONE hour on this?  They expect it to be taught On the Job.  The Foundation is working towards some lofty goals including getting Vascular Access curriculum in nursing schools. 
  • Did you know that medical teaching uses the model, “See one, do one, teach one”?  The Foundation is working towards specific guidelines that need to be included rather than a hit or miss approach.  The question is … “what does a nurse need to know in regards to Vascular Access?”
  • Did you know that 50-60% of a hospital floor nurse’s day is spent on something related to vascular access?  And they get NO formal training/education in most facilities?
  • Did you know that there are safety governing bodies who routinely assess the safety issues of a hospital and not one thing is on that list for Vascular Access?  
  • Did you know that an IV is the most frequently used invasive device in the hospital.  Up to 70% of patients require an IV during a hospital stay. And current studies show there are bloodstream infections for 0.2-0.7/1000 IV device days.  (Central line infection rates are even higher.)

And NO ONE is talking about this stuff. 


I’ve been tasked with promoting the Foundation within the Community.  So I need your help. 

First, an overview from my perspective.  Vascular Access is not currently recognized as a specialty in many hospitals.  An IV, for example, is considered under the “Consent to Treat”.  It’s so routine that not much thought is put into it often.  And in most cases, no harm is done.  But that is not always the case. General belief is that the risk is minimal or non-existent but the body of research is growing to dispel this myth. 

Did you know that approximately 200,000 people got infections from Vascular Devices last year?  Did you know 50,000 died?  That rivals breast cancer but no football players are wearing pink. 

Our first challenge for vascular access is … no one even KNOWS there is a problem.  It’s a “dirty little secret”.  And I’m determined to change that.  And the AVA Foundation is a well-kept secret as a resource for information.  (I’m trying to change that.)

My personal goal is to start educating the public about the potential dangers of vascular devices and how we can mitigate those dangers.  It’s not to create public outrage, but instead to arm the public with information so they can best protect themselves. 

One such example is that we are creating an IV Action Plan or things you should know when you or a loved one requires an IV.  It’s basic information that you should be aware of to help reduce the risk of infection.  (There will also be action plans for those who need a central line as well as one for those who need to go home with a central line.)

The general population certainly needs to have this information.  But the people that needs it first are those that are frequently in the hospital with illness or surgeries.  We really need to reach this population quickly and efficiently. 

Some specific ways you can help:

  1. Manny and I were highlighted in a donation video sharing the need for more emphasis on vascular access … Please watch and share this link with your friends.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wiEn2crUNX4
  2. Do you know of people or corporations who would like to donate to the Foundation and their cause?  Funding is the key element to completing all our tasks.  We are fairly new so not many people have heard of us. 
  3. Are you a clinician or know a clinician?  We need them “plugged in”.  For example, the AVA Foundation has a Facebook page.  It’s new and we hope to make it a place for clinicians to connect, ask questions of each other, share best practices, get ideas, etc.
  4. Do you have a research question you’d like answered? Or would you like to do an evidence-based research project?  
  5. Do you know of someone who is related to this world who would like to be on our Board of Directors?  We especially need people who have a vision for vascular access, have connections to corporations with funding and/or have fundraising experience.
  6. Do you know of a person with Fundraising experience who would like to help out a worthy cause? 
  7. Do you have connections to people in media who might like to feature a story on the topic?
  8. Do you have personal stories (good, bad or ugly) about Vascular Access?  We would like to collect these stories (with or without identifiable data). 
  9. Do you know a celebrity who was affected by the world of Vascular Access who might be willing to be our spokesperson?
  10. Other?  There has never really been a Community Outreach Liaison before so the job is wide open!  Pretty much if you can think of ways you can help, we need it. 


Finally … why do I do this?  Because in the almost 4 years we have had Manny, we have had countless encounters with the world of vascular access.  Some great (life saving in fact) and some horrible (life threatening).  And the difference?  Education and training. 

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