Hospital acquired infections (HAIs) refer to diseases that are picked up following contact with health care services. They are most likely to occur after treatment in hospitals, but are also potential risks in outpatient clinics, nursing homes and other health care settings. Patients can be highly susceptible to diseases such as pneumonia, surgical site infection, gastroenteritis, urinary tract infection and primary bloodstream infection if medical professionals do not adhere to adequate health care practices.
This infographic by cleaning specialist company Cleaning Services Group takes a look at the five most common HAIs which occur, outlining what they are, how often they can occur and their respective symptoms. Crucially, the graphic advises patients as to how each of these illnesses can be prevented. The statistics contained in the infographic provide an alarming eye-opener to the prevalence of HAIs in our health care system. One out of every 25 patients in our hospitals has at least one HAI, while 8% of such infections occur in children aged one year or younger. Also, more than 2 out of 5 infections develop during a stay in a critical care unit, or within two days of departure.
Are Our Hospitals Actually Making Us Sicker?
What is evident from these figures is that the standards of care provided in hospitals, clinics and nursing homes are very much open to question. Should we accept that so many babies are wide open to contracting a HAI, or that one patient out of every 25 is vulnerable? What’s more, these infections aren’t mild, either. Pneumonia, which accounts for 21% of HAIs, is an incredibly serious lung condition that can easily be fatal. The same can be said for surgical site infection, which occurs after the medic has made an incision to the patient’s skin.
Who Is At Risk of Contracting a Healthcare Acquired Infection?
Although patients can be abdicated for any responsibility pertaining to the contraction of HAIs, they can also help themselves by educating themselves on the subject. Naturally, some people will be more vulnerable than others to HAIs. Premature babies, extremely ill children, elderly people and those with serious medical conditions such as diabetes are all at a greater risk of picking up a HAI. The probability of such infections is also heightened by hospital conditions and poor medical practices including improper hand hygiene, excessive use of antibiotics, longer health care stays and high-risk areas like intensive care units. If the patient knows about these risks and discusses them with a medical professional, the chances of preventative measures being taken are increased.
At this time of year, people are more likely to be hospitalized by severe influenza or other illnesses which are brought about by harsh winter weather. We found the infographic to be highly educational and we would encourage you to take even just 5 minutes of your time to read it and improve your knowledge of HAIs. In this instance, knowledge truly is power.