Despite the best intentions of healthcare practitioners, patients often contract healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) from medical environments such as clinics, dialysis facilities, hospitals, and long-term care facilities. Considering that HAIs can be deadly to a patient, accounting for 99,000 associated deaths in American hospitals each year according to the Centers for Disease Control, the responsibility lies on medical professionals to ensure proper hygiene and know what to look out for. So to help you put the right measures in place, here are the 5 most common healthcare-related infections and how to prevent them:
Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI)
According to the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, catheter-associated urinary tract infections are one of the most common ailments a patient can contract in the hospital. CAUTI is caused by indwelling catheters that are inserted into the urethra after surgery.
CAUTI is treated with antibiotics to eradicate dangerous bacteria, and antispasmodics should the patient feel any bladder spasms. Medical practitioners can prevent this common HAI by cleaning the skin and the area around the catheter, emptying the drainage bag several times a day, and observing good hygienic practices such as frequent hand-washing and wearing gloves when inpatient contact.
Surgical site infections (SSI)
This type of infection can occur in and around the area of the body where surgery was performed. Surgical site infections range from superficial — which affect the skin only — to serious, such as tissue beneath the skin, organs, or foreign material that’s been implanted.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that patients consult with their doctors on preventative measures, such as stopping smoking and avoiding shaving the area to be operated on. Medical practitioners must ensure they follow good hygiene by washing their hands frequently and wearing and replacing their gloves between each patient.
Central Line-Associated Bloodstream Infection (CLABSI)
This infection is caused by a central line — such as a catheter — that’s been inserted into a patient’s bloodstream. Symptoms of a central line-associated bloodstream infection can include fever or chills, with the skin around the central line insertion site turning red and causing the patient discomfort.
The California Department of Public Health states that “CLABSIs can be prevented through following proper precautions at the time the line is inserted (central line insertion practices), care of the line while it is in place (central line maintenance practices), and removal of the line as soon as it is no longer necessary.” Medical practitioners should also ensure that their hands are clean, they’re wearing gloves, and the catheter is treated with an antiseptic when taking blood and dispensing medication.
Hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP)
Hospital-acquired pneumonia is a very serious lung infection that can occur after abdominal or thoracic surgency. As highlighted in this MSD Manual, HAP is caused by certain pathogens, with antibiotic-resistant organisms being of particular concern. A patient may experience debilitating symptoms such as fever, chills, coughing, and chest pains. Once diagnosed, HAP is treated with antibiotics, but as with all ailments, prevention is far better than cure.
As noted in Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control, hand hygiene is considered an effective means of prevention. In particular, having access to antiseptic hand rub at the bedside. Caregivers are advised to observe good hygiene practices and wear gloves throughout patient treatment.
Clostridium difficile (CDI)
Clostridium difficile (a common bacterium in the intestine) is considered by the Journal of Global Health to be the leading cause of HAIs in the world, particularly among seniors and hospital patients. This infection occurs when the common bacterium develops into a serious gastrointestinal infection caused by antibiotic therapy and long-term hospitalization. As it’s an individual infection, affected patients will not all exhibit the same symptoms and the infection can only be diagnosed once a stool sample has been sent off for confirmation.
Once diagnosed, the course of treatment depends on the patient’s age, level of infection, and the severity of symptoms. With regard to prevention, limiting the usage of antibiotics can help limit new cases of CDI. Hygiene also forms part of the recommended strategies for suspected or confirmed cases of CDI:
- - Adhere to recommended hand hygiene practices
- - Patient bathing or showering with soap and water must be implemented daily
Ventyv® — infection prevention for HAIs
Ventyv® understands that, when it comes to HAIs, prevention is far better than cure. Proper hand hygiene is extremely important for guarding against HAI incidents in medical environments. That means medical practitioners must ensure they change gloves and wash hands between patients while being careful not to contaminate the gloves during patient care.
Ventyv® provides a wide variety of single-use exam gloves to meet a multitude of uses needed. Our gloves provide the strength and barrier protection needed to Outsmart Infection®. To learn more about these gloves and how they can help in the prevention of HAIs, contact us for your free sample.