HAI Threats & Solutions

Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are a global crisis affecting both patients and healthcare workers.

Financially, HAIs represent an estimated annual impact of $6.7 billion to healthcare facilities, but the human cost is even higher. A Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report published in March-April 2007 estimated the number of U.S. deaths from healthcare associated infections in 2002 at 98,987. However, it is likely the number is even higher because, as the authors of the study point out, “No single source of nationally representative data on HAIs is currently available.1

According to the World Health Organization, “At any given time, 1.4 million people worldwide are estimated to be suffering from an infection acquired in a health facility. The risk of acquiring healthcare-associated infections in developing countries is 2-20 times higher than in developed countries.2

Until recently, a lack of HAI reporting requirements for healthcare facilities has contributed to less-than-optimal emphasis being placed on eliminating the sources of healthcare associated infections. However, growing public anxiety regarding the issue and resulting legislation on state and local levels demanding accountability is serving to accelerate initiatives to combat HAIs.

Hand Hygiene

Hands are a main pathway for the contact transmission of pathogens in healthcare. Hand hygiene is one of the most important measures to help avoid transmission and prevent healthcare-associated infections. Gaining hand hygiene compliance in your facility and knowing more about proper hand washing and hand rubbing techniques are essential steps in infection protection.

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Cross Contamination

Cross-contamination is the number one source of Healthcare Associated Infections.

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MRSA, Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus is a member of the extremely common staph family of infections. Staph infections are not new. Infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus were treated successfully with penicillin in the 1940’s. The growing concern in healthcare today is that this pathogen has become increasingly resistant to antibiotic treatment.

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Ventilator Associated Pneumonia

VAP is the source of the highest morbidity and mortality of all Healthcare Associated Infections.

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Surgical Site Infections

Any breach of patient skin can lead to a surgical site infection.

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Foot Notes:
  1. Public Health Reports / March & April 2007 / Volume 122, p.160
  2. World Alliance for Patient Safety, Global Patient Safety Challenge 2005–2006: Clean Care is Safer Care. Geneva: World Health Organization, 2005
  3. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dhqp/id.html