It is estimated that hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) affect nearly two million patients in the United States every year and lead to more than 100,000 deaths.
HAIs are a serious problem, and hospital administrators are always looking for new ways to control them. In this article, we will explore some of the different ways hospital acquired infection prevention is considered within a hospital environment.
Although, the approaches below can be applied to many different clinical situations, such as medical practices and dental surgeries.
1. Hand Hygiene
One of the most important ways to control hospital infections is through proper hand hygiene.
All hospital personnel should be trained on proper handwashing techniques and encouraged to practice them regularly to prevent the spread of germs. Regular use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers can also help reduce the transmission of bacteria.
Putting up information signs in various ward and corridor locations on advised hand-washing techniques will help everyone, from staff to patients and their relatives.
They will then know just how to effectively protect themselves and others from the various types of infections.
2. Avoid Touching Contaminated Surfaces
It is also necessary for hospital personnel to avoid touching contaminated surfaces, such as bedpans, hospital beds, and linens.
Surgical gloves can be worn but they still need to be changed between actions so that we are not cross-contaminating a surface.
It is about awareness more than anything else and just thinking carefully every time that something is touched. It is easy not to think about the infections such a motion could spread when it is so important to do so.
3. Antibiotic Stewardship
Antibiotics are a potent tool for fighting hospital-acquired infections, but they should be used judiciously. Too much antibiotic use can lead to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that are difficult to treat.
Hospital administrators should ensure that hospital personnel practice antibiotic stewardship and only prescribe antibiotics when necessary.
We want to avoid over-antibiotic use not to end up with so-called superbugs that there is then nothing to touch. These can be extremely dangerous to patients if they end up in hospital wards.
They can close whole wards and make a thorough clean necessary. This is very disruptive to patient care when there can already be bed shortages in winter and other times of the year.
4. Isolation Precautions
Hospitals can also employ isolation precautions, such as placing patients with infectious diseases in special rooms or using protective equipment for hospital personnel who are working with potentially infectious patients.
Barrier nursing is an excellent approach if there is any doubt about how infections may spread. Under these conditions, full PPE (personal protective equipment) will be worn, including masks, gloves, and other medical clothing.
This will be put on before entering the side room where the patient is isolated and then removed straight away after caring for the patient. Much of it will be disposable.
5. Cleaning and Disinfection
Regular cleaning and disinfection of hospital surfaces are also essential to preventing hospital-acquired infections. Hospital personnel should be trained in the proper use of hospital-grade disinfectants and should practice regular, thorough cleaning of all hospital surfaces.
So, hospital administrators have several tools at their disposal for controlling hospital infections. These include hand hygiene, avoiding touching contaminated surfaces, antibiotic stewardship, isolation precautions, and proper cleaning and disinfection.
By implementing these measures, hospital administrators can help to keep hospital patients safe from infection.
The success of any hospital-wide infection control program ultimately depends on the full participation of hospital personnel in following safety protocols. It is essential that hospital personnel are properly trained in hospital infection control and that they understand the importance of following hospital protocols.
By taking these steps, hospital administrators can help ensure that hospital infections are kept to a minimum and that hospital patients stay safe.