Hospital-acquired infections are infections that patients acquire while receiving medical treatment in a healthcare facility. These infections are a major concern for hospitals and patients alike.
There are 3 common types of hospital-acquired infections that you should know about.
1. Catheter-related bloodstream infections
Bloodstream infections from intravenous catheters are one of the most frequent hospital-acquired infections. When care providers insert a catheter, bacteria can enter the body and make their way into the bloodstream. Proper catheter site care and timely removal of catheters can help reduce these infections.
2. Surgical site infections
Surgical site infections occur at the surgical site after surgery. These infections result from bacteria in the surgical wound. Hospitals can help prevent these by having patients shower or bathe with antibacterial soap before surgery, ensuring staff wear sterile gloves and gowns, cleaning the skin at the surgical site and administering antibiotics appropriately before surgery.
3. Ventilator-associated pneumonia
People who are on ventilators to help them breathe are at risk for ventilator-associated pneumonia. Bacteria can get into their lungs via the breathing tube. Maintaining good oral hygiene and suctioning secretions from the breathing tube can help minimize the risk of this type of pneumonia.
Statistics show that 1 in every 31 patients receive a hospital-acquired infection every day. Hospital staff can take important steps to control infections. Good hygiene, proper cleaning of medical equipment and using antibiotics prudently can help. Patients and family members can also reduce infection risk by washing hands frequently, keeping catheter sites clean and speaking up about any concerns.