Friday, January 20, 2012

Health Care-Acquired Infections

Did you know that in the United States, one out of 20 hospitalized patients contract a health care-acquired infection (HAI)?

An HAI is an infection a patient receives while being treated for a medical condition. When an HAI takes place, it can lead to extra time being spent in a hospital, meaning a longer recovery time.

The three most common types of HAIs are (according to the National Patient Safety Foundation):
  • Catheter-related bloodstream infections: Catheter-related bloodstream infections, or CRBSIs, are among the most common infections in patients who are admitted to critical care units. These infections occur when bacteria and other germs travel down a “central line” and enter the bloodstream.
  • Hospital-acquired pneumonia: Hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP) is an infection of the lungs that occurs 48 hours or longer after admission to a hospital. This pneumonia tends to be more serious because patients in the hospital are often sicker and unable to fight off germs than otherwise health people. Hospital-acquired pneumonia occurs more often in patients who are using a respirator (machine) to help them breathe. Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) falls into the HAP category. It may occur in patients who need a tube to breathe.
  • Surgical site infections (SSI): A surgical site infection is an infection that occurs after surgery in the part of the body where the surgery took place. Surgical site infections sometimes only involve the skin. Others are more serious and can involve tissues under the skin, organs, or implanted material (such as knee or hip replacements).
In any health care setting, remember to:
-Wash your hands carefully after toughing anything soiled.
-Don't be afraid to remind staff members to wash their hands before working with you.
-Make sure all wounds are dry and on tightly.
-If you have any type of catheter or tube inserted, notify a staff member if it feels loose.

Snyder and Wenner, P.C.

1 comment:

  1. It's a sad irony that people can get sick from the very place they rely on to combat illness. 1 in20 may not look like much, but scaled up to such a large country, that could literally mean hundreds of thousands. Hopefully, new procedural and technological developments can lower that figure or eliminate it entirely.

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