Healthcare-Associated Infections and Hand Washing

In some cases, effective treatment requires hospitalization or procedures, which still carries a particular risk to patients. Healthcare-associated infections (shortly HAIs) include diseases that patients may receive during the treatment of other medical conditions (“Healthcare-associated infections,” 2020). This problem is relevant for many medical institutions of various types – ambulance centers, rehabilitation centers, and many others. For this reason, the issue can be observed in any institution, especially when applying invasive procedures. Despite the many preventative measures used in healthcare facilities, patients still have a risk of contracting healthcare-associated infections.

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HAIs are also known as “hospital” or “nosocomial” infections because of their distribution within health facilities. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, among 25 patients receiving hospital care, one falls ill with HAI (“Health care-associated infections,” n.d.). The nature of healthcare-associated infectious diseases varies significantly depending on the type of hospital and clinical departments (Bammigatti et al., 2017). The occurrence of HAIs is largely conditioned by dangerous medical interventions, such as surgical operations and the use of invasive devices (Khan et al., 2017). The primary sources of infections are the patients themselves and the employees of the medical institution. Hospital infections can be divided into several common types. These include pneumonia related to lung ventilation, blood infections, urinary tract infections, intestinal infections, and post-surgical infections (“Healthcare-associated infections,” 2020). The growth of HAIs is associated with the creation of large hospital complexes, the rapid development of intensive care equipment, new types of therapeutic and diagnostic equipment.

The problem is crucial and needs constant monitoring for several reasons. Such diseases significantly complicate the care process, as they interfere with the correct establishment of diagnosis and require additional treatment measures (Manoukian et al., 2018). However, healthcare-associated infections pose not only a persistent threat to patient safety but also a risk to the reputation of medical institutions, creating negative financial consequences and sanctions. The spread of infection in the hospital also involves an additional burden on staff. Moreover, understaffing also contributes to the spread of HAIs (Shang et al., 2019). If the disease is associated with intestinal infections rather than invasive intervention, there is a risk of team contracting. In this case, additional work will also include more stringent measures to prevent disease and disinfection of the hospital.

Prevention of healthcare-associated infections is an urgent problem of modern medicine. Despite the long time and enormous efforts devoted to studying nosocomial diseases and developing a set of actions to prevent them, this issue does not cease its destructive effect. To avoid hospital infections, strict implementation of the sterilization and disinfection regimes, aseptic rules, compliance with the requirements for the use of protective clothing, patient care, and much more is necessary (Suleyman et al., 2018). However, according to many experts, including the World Health Organization, hand washing is the most effective preventive measure (Sickbert-Bennett et al., 2016). Moreover, it is applicable even in severe conditions and humanitarian settings (Murphy & Chua, 2016). Non-compliance with hand hygiene rules by medical personnel greatly contributes to the spread of pathogens leading to the development of in-hospital infections.

During the day, many items, both personal and public, are in contact with the skin of the human’s hands. This implies their enormous insemination by various microorganisms, including those causing infectious diseases (Wilke et al., 2018). This is especially true for medical personnel, in the conditions of treatment of patients. The introduction of advanced methods allows to significantly increase the level of hygiene and reduce the risk of hospital infections. Despite the use of high-tech equipment in medicine and the development of science, the problem of hygienic hand treatment remains urgent.

References

Bammigatti, C., SaikumarDoradla, H. N. B., Kumar, H., &Swaminathan, R. P. (2017). Healthcare-associated infections in a resource-limited setting. Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research: JCDR, 11(1), 1-4.

Health care-associated infections. (n.d.). Web.

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Healthcare-associated infections. (2020). Web.

Khan, H. A., Baig, F. K., & Mehboob, R. (2017). Nosocomial infections: Epidemiology, prevention, control, and surveillance. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, 7(5), 478-482.

Manoukian, S., Stewart, S., Dancer, S., Graves, N., Mason, H., McFarland, A.,… & Reilly, J. (2018). Estimating excess length of stay due to healthcare-associated infections: a systematic review and meta-analysis of statistical methodology. Journal of Hospital Infection, 100(2), 222-235.

Murphy, R. A., & Chua, A. C. (2016). Prevention of common healthcare-associated infections in humanitarian hospitals. Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases, 29(4), 381-387.

Shang, J., Needleman, J., Liu, J., Larson, E., & Stone, P. W. (2019). Nurse staffing and healthcare-associated infection, Unit-Level analysis. JONA: The Journal of Nursing Administration, 49(5), 260-265.

Sickbert-Bennett, E. E., DiBiase, L. M., Willis, T. M. S., Wolak, E. S., Weber, D. J., &Rutala, W. A. (2016). Reduction of healthcare-associated infections by exceeding high compliance with hand hygiene practices. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 22(9), 1628-1630.

Suleyman, G., Alangaden, G., & Bardossy, A. C. (2018). The role of environmental contamination in the transmission of nosocomial pathogens and healthcare-associated infections. Current Infectious Disease Reports, 20(6), 12. Web.

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Wilke, A., Bartolo, C., O’Reilly, M., & Chisholm, P. (2018). ‘Healthcare-associated infection time’: A novel strategy to engage doctors in preventing healthcare-associated infections on every ward round. Journal of Hospital Infection, 98(2), 223-224.

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