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Vascular Access

As the "lifeline" of the patient on hemodialysis, vascular access should be a primary focus of quality improvement activities. While efforts are underway to improve vascular access outcomes by increasing the use of AV fistulas (see Fistula First), a significant number of patients in Network 8 continue to dialyze with AV grafts or central venous catheters. Dialysis facility staff and other vascular access team members must work together to:

  • Establish the most appropriate vascular access for each patient
  • Maintain the access once established
  • Minimize the risks associated with each vascular access type
  • Preserve future sites for vascular access

These goals may be accomplished through better communication, education, vascular access monitoring, early referral for intervention, and utilization of proper procedures.

Fistula First, Catheter Last

The 2014 Statement of Work contains three improvement measures related to vascular access.

  • Improve AVF rate to 61.0% by September 2014
  • Decrease long-term catheter (LTC) rate by 2 percentage points in the sub-set of Network 8 units with LTC rate > 10.0% as of October 2013.
  • Ensure that at least 95% of Network 8 facilities submit 100% of vascular access data via CROWNWeb each month.

You are encouraged to participate in project activities and utilize information received from the Networks in assessing and developing your own plan for improving vascular access outcomes.

Please contact Sheila McMaster, Network 8 Quality Improvement Director, for more information (601-936-9260 or Email).

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