Preventing Healthcare Acquired Infection
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) estimates 1.7 million infections and 99,000 deaths each year in the United States alone due to Healthcare-acquired Infections (HAIs). All patients visiting a hospital are susceptible to contracting an infection. Children, elderly and people with immune deficiency are more at risk of being infected.
Many people visit a healthcare facility seeking treatment for an existing illness, not to leave with a new infection. This can be frightening for anyone visiting a healthcare facility. Fortunately, the CDC has provided healthcare providers with a comprehensive list of how to prevent HAIs in their facilities. You can visit the CDC’s Guidelines Library by clicking here.
What is Healthcare-acquired Infection (HAIs)?
HAIs is an infection acquired in a healthcare or medical facility. This includes hospitals, long-term care facilities, operating rooms, and clinics.
Many healthcare providers play multiple roles in their facilities. This includes the evaluation, treatment, care, prevention and administration of patients. As the statistics provided by the CDC, the prevention of infection is an area that lacks attention. To combat HAIs, here is a list of areas to focus on to prevent the spread of infection.
Catheter-associated urinary tract infection or CAUTI is an estimated 25% of HAIs. Unnecessary catheterization, duration of catheterization, and hand hygiene are areas patients contract infection during their stay at a hospital. Providers can prevent UTIs by sterilizing hands and equipment before insertion and after removal. Catheters should be changed at regular intervals for maintenance and should not be used to obtain urine samples. Click here to CAUTI guidelines.
Surgical site infection or SSI occurs after surgery in the location surgery took place. To prevent SSI healthcare providers are instructed to wash their hands and arms with an antiseptic agent before and after caring for each patient. Hair covers, masks, gowns, and gloves should be worn during surgery to prevent contamination. Daily monitoring of the surgical site should be performed by healthcare providers to catch any infection before it becomes worse. Patient and healthcare provider resources on SSI are available by clicking here.
Infection and bacteria are known for lingering around on high-touch surfaces such as doorknobs, handrails, office furniture and casework, and patient waiting room area and furniture. Detergent and water are fine to wipe down any surface in nonpatient areas and disinfectant in patient waiting rooms. If your facility is in the process of remodeling, we recommend going with stainless steel casework to prevent the spread of germs and is easy to clean. Click here to read a detailed list on Environmental Infection Control Guidelines provided by the CDC.
Overuse of Antibiotics
The overuse of antibiotics is also a cause of HAIs. Over time, this produces bacteria that are harder to kill with a normal dose of medicine and a higher dose is required.
Help prevent the spread of infection in your healthcare or medical facility with proper procedures by all healthcare providers. For a comprehensive list on preventing HAIs follow the link below to the Centers of Disease Control website.