The World Health Organization reports that at any given time, approximately 1.4 million people worldwide are suffering from infections they received at a healthcare facility. I personally know of one of those persons. Following his second hip surgery, a family member got an infection, which required several days in the hospital, surgery to take care of the infection, and six weeks of home health care providers who administered large doses of penicillin through a portable IV. The process was successful; however, it caused a lot of pain and discomfort, as well as mental anxiety, as to whether the treatment would work, or if another surgery would be needed.
Three types of infections that can be received in hospitals or healthcare settings are:
1. Ventilator Associated Pneumonia. VAP has the highest morbidity and mortality of Hospital Associated Infections. This type of infection will increase patient time in the ICU by 4-6 days. Estimated costs for each incident ranges from $20,000 to $40,000.
2. Surgical Site Infections. Costs from these types of infection from invasive procedures amounted to $10 billion in the United States alone annually.
3. Cross Contamination. Patients and healthcare workers are better protected from cross contamination by consistent hand hygiene. Clean hands are the most important factor in preventing the spread of dangerous germs in healthcare settings. Hand contamination is reduced by 70-80% when wearing gloves. The importance of personal protective equipment, such as masks, gloves, surgical gowns, and other medical clothing cannot be overstated.
Hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, dentist offices, and other healthcare industries work hard to provide excellent infection control. However, due to growing public anxiety, more pressure is being put on state and local legislators in regard to hospitals’ responsibility of controlling, combating, and reporting hospital associated infections. There are numerous types of infections that can occur, but patients deserve to have the peace of mind that their return home will be a healthy one.