Healthcare-associated infections (HAI) are prevalent in the United States healthcare system and can be a serious problem. HAIs are any type of infection that a patient gets while in a hospital or other healthcare setting that they did not previously have when arriving at that facility. These can be passed from patient-to-patient, provider-to-patient, or be from a patient contacting an infected object.
“You would think that a hospital is the most germ-free place, specifically designed for people to recover from illness, not catch them” but a recent study conducted by the US National Institutes of Health and the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention points to a different conclusion. The research study tracked 40 nurses who wore three types of scrubs (a traditional cotton-polyester blend; one treated with silver-alloy inside fibers; and one treated to kill bacteria) over three 12-hour shifts in which they monitored one or two patients in a medical or surgical intensive care unit.
Communication failures between healthcare facilities can lead to infection outbreaks. A two-year research study conducted by OSU/OHSU College of Pharmacy, the Oregon Health Authority, and other collaborators suggests that statement is true. Researchers focused on an opportunistic pathogen associated primarily with infections among patients who have compromised immune systems and are in health care facilities known as Acinetobacter baumannii. The pathogen is extensively drug-resistant and can contain many antibiotic resistance genes that can be transmitted to other organisms. Multiple sites in the Pacific Northwest were studied, where “scientists identified 21 cases, including 16 isolates, of Acinetobacter baumannii that contained a rare gene responsible for resistance to the carbapenem class of antibiotics.”
This infection results in thousands of deaths each year and billions of dollars in added costs to the U.S. healthcare system. This type of infection is totally preventable.
Fact: "On any given day, about one in 25 hospital patients has at least one healthcare-associated infection." - CDC
There are 4 types of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) include central line-associated bloodstream infections, catheter-associated urinary tract infections, and ventilator-associated pneumonia. You may know that infections may also occur at surgery sites, known as surgical site infections. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention works to monitor and prevent these infections because they are an important threat to patient safety.