Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs) and Surgical Site Infections (SSIs) are among the most common healthcare delivery consequences in multiple hospitals across the world. Despite numerous attempts to prevent patients from them, the percentage of infections is still alarmingly high (Norman et al., 2020). They lead to severe financial, physical, emotional, and medical ramifications, which cost billions of dollars to the U.S healthcare system. Nearly 300,000 of them lead to at least 9,000 death annually across the United States (Andersen, 2018). Multiple reasons, including unsterile medical instrumentation and devices, bacteria, fungi, ventilation, type of surgery, and other factors, influence the occurrence of HAIs and SSIs. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop tools to reduce the number of infections.
HAIs and SSIs can occur in any medical facility, including hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, surgical centers, and other related institutions. Infections can be localized to catheters, contaminated surfaces, drainage tubes, the hands of medical staff, visitors, or patients (McDonald et al., 2019). The setting of HAIs and SSIs varies from medical devices to humans themselves. Therefore, it is vital that everything was sterile in a place where a potential threat can occur.
Healthcare-acquired or health-associated infections emerge while a patient receives treatment in the healthcare facility. Several common types of HAIs include pneumonia, catheter-associated urinary infections, bloodstream infections, and SSIs (Haque et al., 2018). Surgical site infections occur after surgery, usually at the part where the intervention was performed. They may be superficial or adverse, involving under skin tissues and organs. The symptoms include fluid drainage, redness, and pain at the surgery site, and fever.
Effect of the Problem
Primarily, HAIs and SSIs are the reason for the high level of morbidity among hospital patients. They present a serious threat as they may be transmitted from one healthcare facility to another. Being a cause of morbidity, hospital-acquired and surgical site infections are an enormous burden to the U.S. budget (Dumville et al., 2018). One of the twenty-five patients can catch HAI in a hospital setting. Therefore, the issue will remain acute unless actions are taken.
Significance of the Topic and Its Implications for Nursing Practice
The nurses represent a large part of the hospital workforce; thus, they have an essential role in assisting patients after surgeries, providing treatment, and performing multiple other activities. In general, patient safety and HAIs prevention are their primary concerns. They “also play an important role in care coordination and act as patient advocates to create a safe environment for patients” (Shang, Stone, & Larson, 2015, p. 582). Understanding the link between nursing staff and hospital-acquired infections is essential to avoid mistakes in practice. Therefore, the topic selected is significant in a way that it should raise more awareness among nurses and other care providers.
The approach towards preventing HAIs and SSIs must be complex and include each healthcare worker that may change the situation. Among the most common ways of reducing infection, the occurrence is elevated hand hygiene (Norman et al., 2017). According to Brosio et al. (2017), “this preventive procedure is strongly recommended by WHO that recently promoted a worldwide campaign in order to encourage hand washing” (p. E101). Moreover, alcohol-based sanitizers must be promoted in order to keep hands, surfaces, and instruments clean. Keeping environmental hygiene is beneficial because bacteria and fungi will not be able to spread. Another means of protection is workforce vaccination so that they cannot catch flu or other contagious diseases and transmit it to the patients. All in all, these simple means can help avoid the occurrence of HAIs and SSIs and reduce the morbidity rate. Knowing how to prevent patients from such infections will facilitate nursing practice because they will not have to struggle with extra procedures.
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