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Hospital Acquired Infections Essay

1665 words - 7 pages

A hospital-acquired infection (HAI) or nosocomial infection is an infection whose development is favored by a hospital environment, such as one acquired by a patient during a hospital visit or one developing among hospital staff.
In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated roughly 1.7 million hospital-associated infections, from all types of microorganisms, including bacteria, combined, cause or contribute to 99,000 deaths each year. In Europe, where hospital surveys have been conducted, the category of Gram-negative infections are estimated to account for two-thirds of the 25,000 deaths each year. Nosocomial infections can cause severe pneumonia and ...view middle of the document...

Hospital infections add more than $30 billion annually to the nation's health tab in hospital costs alone. The tab will increase rapidly, as more infections become drug-resistant.


A new study based on all the hospital infections reported in Pennsylvania in 2005 dramatizes this enormous economic burden. The average charge for patients who developed an infection ($173,206) was nearly four times as high as for patients admitted with the same diagnosis and severity of illness who did not contract an infection ($44,367). The 11,688 infections reported added over two billion dollars in hospital charges that year. That's in one state alone! 

Other studies on the cost of infections found that:
* Post surgical wound infections more than double a patient's hospital costs. When a patient develops an infection after surgery, the cost of care increases 119percent, on average, at a teaching hospital, and 101 percent at a community hospital.
* Urinary tract infections increase a patient's hospital costs by 47 percent at a teaching hospital and 35 percent at a community hospital.
* The average ventilator-associated pneumonia infection (a type of infection contracted when a patient is on a respirator) adds $40,000 to a patient's hospital costs.
* Staphylococcus aureus infections are especially costly. According to a recent nationwide study, patients with Staph infections incur hospital costs that amount to more than triple the average hospital costs of other patients.
2,000,000 Estimated infections per year X $15,275
(Average additional hospital costs when a
patient contracts an infection) = $30.5 Billion

HHS Action Plan to Prevent Healthcare-associated Infections
The prevention and reduction of healthcare-associated infections is a top priority for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The HHS Steering Committee for the Prevention of Healthcare-Associated Infections was established in July 2008, the Steering Committee, along with scientists and program officials across HHS, developed the HHS Action Plan to Prevent Healthcare-Associated Infections, providing a roadmap for HAI prevention in acute care hospitals. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has identified the reduction of HAIs as an Agency Priority Goal for the Department. By September 30, 2013, HHS is committed to reducing the national rate of HAIs by demonstrating significant, quantitative, and measurable reductions in hospital-acquired central line-associated bloodstream infections and catheter-associated urinary tract infections.
Handwashing frequently is called the single most important measure to reduce the risks of transmitting skin microorganisms from one person to another or from one site to another on the same patient. Washing hands as promptly and thoroughly as possible between patient contacts and after contact with blood, body fluids, secretions, excretions, and equipment or articles...

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