Hospital-acquired infections, or HAIs, are a significant threat to patient safety. While they require minimal effort to prevent, many cleaning services aren’t taking the required steps to stop HAIs in their tracks. Is your cleaning service doing everything it can to prevent these dangerous infections?
What is a Hospital-Acquired Infection (HAI)?
Hospital-Acquired Infections often occur in patients who require the use of devices like central lines or catheters. They can also develop at surgical sites. A study published by the American Medical Association found that HAIs result in $9.8 billion dollars a year in medical costs, contributing substantially to the rising price of healthcare in the United States. Hundreds of millions of lives in the US are lost because of Hospital-Acquired Infections.
What Are The Causes of Hospital-Acquired Infections?
- According to the Center for Disease Control, washing your hands is the most effective way to prevent the spread of infection. Unfortunately, a report in the Annals of Internal Medicine stated that correct hand hygiene among doctors is only 40-60%— on a good day. Physicians aren’t the only offenders. Nursing staff and patients themselves aren’t washing their hands with a frequency that will stop the infection before it spreads.
- While the hospital’s floors are not classified as a highly touched surface, many highly touched objects come in contact with the floor. These items can include anything from blood pressure cuffs to the call buttons used by patients to summon nurses.
- Open wards, in which multiple patient beds reside can significantly increase the risk of hospital-acquired infections, causing them to spread rapidly among patients. Modifying the design of hospital wards is an important step to preventing infections. In the UK, where 1 in 15 hospital patients are affected by HAIs, steps are being taken to change the traditional open ward model to reduce the spread of sickness.
How Can Hospital-Acquired Infections Be Prevented?
- In 2001, Dr. Peter Pronovost made a safety checklist for nurses and doctors handling catheters. There are five steps.
- Step 1: Wash Hands
- Step 2: Clean patient’s skin
- Step 3: Wear mask, hat, gown, gloves and place sterile drapes over patient
- Step 4: Avoid putting catheter in groin, which has a higher infection rate, if possible
- Step 5: Remove catheter as soon as possible
When these steps are followed, infection rates drop from three in one thousand patients to zero. Consider the first three steps are personal hygiene. Simple steps like this to take a problem that costs billions of dollars out of the way completely.
Consumer Reports states that all hospitals must have routine inspections to ensure they not only have infection control programs but that they are being followed by everyone from the highest paid employees to the cleaning services hired to work in the hospital.
Create a comprehensive list of all surfaces that have the potential for patient contact, and thus should be not just cleaned, but disinfected. Share this list with your cleaning service, and you might notice a slowdown in the spread of infection.
The Financial Impact of Hospital-Acquired Infections
Hospitals are rated on how many incidents of hospital-acquired diseases occur in their patients. If a hospital has a high rate, it’s not just bad news for the patients within their walls, but it can also lead to incredibly bad press. In most instances, patients can choose which hospital they’re taken to. You can be sure if a hospital has been in the news for C. Diff or MRSA outbreaks, patients will not choose that hospital. When beds aren’t full, the subsequent loss of revenue for the hospital can be substantial.
Hiring an effective cleaning company that understands hospital-acquired infections, and knows how to best prevent them is a productive first step to ensuring your hospital remains infection free. CSG is a nationwide company with 15 years of experience, and 40 locations nationwide to serve you. Call us today to speak with one of our knowledgeable customer service representatives. We’ll be happy to discuss how our team can help your hospital fight the spread of hospital-acquired infections.