Home Health Debates How You Can Help Prevent Healthcare Associated Infections

How You Can Help Prevent Healthcare Associated Infections

written by Head Health Nutter November 24, 2009

Did you know that the CDC estimates American patients contract over 1 million infections in the hospital every year while being treated for something else? While many health debates rage, the one thing we can all agree on is that no one should get sick visiting a doctor.

As we learned a couple of weeks ago in Swine Flu Truths Revealed, secondary infections grossly overestimate the number of deaths attributed to influenza.

Some people admitted to the hospital end up contracting other infections, from pneumonia to antibiotic-resistant staph (MRSA), while under treatment.

The Not on My Watch Prevention Campaign is about educating patients and healthcare professionals in the prevention of hospital-related infections. This program is led by Kimberly-Clark Health Care, a company who believes that Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs) are completely avoidable with proper prevention habits.

A few facts from the press release:

  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), at any point in time, 1.4 million people worldwide suffer from infections acquired in hospitals.
  • A Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report published in March-April 2007 estimated the number of U.S. deaths from healthcare associated infections in 2002 at 98,987.
  • The risk of acquiring healthcare-associated infections in developing countries is 2-20 times higher than in developed countries.
  • Afflicting thousands of patients every year, HAI often leads to lengthening hospitalization, increasing the likelihood of readmission, and adding sizably to the cost of care per patient.
  • Financially, HAIs represent an estimated annual impact of $6.7 billion to healthcare facilities, but the human cost is even higher.

Both healthcare professionals and consumers can visit the website HAI Watch: Not on My Watch for up-to-date information on HAIs and how to prevent them.

So how can you help prevent healthcare associated infections?

Basically, lots of hand washing while you’re in the hospital, before and after you touch your hospitalized loved one, and repeatedly reminding the healthcare professionals to cleanse their hands before touching their patient.

I love how they tell us to be confident in asking healthcare professionals to perform hand hygiene in front of us, and that healthcare professionals appreciate these gentle reminders because they want to prevent HAIs as much as we do!

Check out their suggestions in this 5:30 minute hand washing video:

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