Nosocomial infections are also known as healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) or hospital-acquired infections. These infections can range in severity from minor hiccups in treatment to causes of death. Protecting patients and family members from contracting these infections is an essential part of properly managing your practice.
Where Do Nosocomial Infections Occur?
The most common place where nosocomial infections are contracted is the intensive care unit or ICU. Approximately 10% of all hospital patients, at some point during their stay, will contract one of these infections. Technically, nosocomial infections must occur within 48 hours of hospital admission, 72 hours after discharge, 30 days post-operation or inside of a healthcare facility.
The most common types of nosocomial infections include urinary tract infections, surgical site infections, gastroenteritis, meningitis and pneumonia.
What Causes Nosocomial Infections?
These dangerous infections can be caused by the usual culprits—bacteria, fungus and viruses. 90% of nosocomial infections are caused by bacteria. Since many people in healthcare facilities have temporarily or permanently compromised immune systems, they are also at an elevated risk of contracting something.
Bacteria, fungi and viruses all spread through person-to-person contact in the form of unwashed hands and improperly cleaned medical instruments like catheters. If a healthcare facility excessively uses antibiotics, antibiotic-resistant bacteria can evolve rapidly and cause greater numbers of nosocomial infections.
How Can You Prevent Nosocomial Infections?
Your practice can prevent nosocomial infections in a wide variety of ways, including:
- Education, which is your most powerful weapon against them. Make sure patients and their families understand why certain sanitation measures are in place and the risks of not following them.
- Identify patients in need of isolation as quickly as possible.
- Always observe proper hand hygiene and regularly brief employees on what that consists of.
- Provide your healthcare employees with the appropriate tools for the job including proper face protection, gloves and gowns.
- Ensure that rooms in your facility have proper ventilation.
Improve the Health and Safety of Your Patients with Vetters Enterprises
Vetters Enterprises specializes in practice management, revenue cycle optimization, and private practice business support. We can perform detailed assessments of your practice or facility and identify potential issues. Let us keep your business as healthy as you keep your patients! Give us a call at (443) 352-0088.