When people are admitted to a hospital, it is with the hope that they are there to become healthier, and have medical issues go away. However, for too many people their hospital stay ends up being a nightmare full of unnecessary complications and even death. This is because of Hospital Acquired Infections, which are a major issue for hospitals, despite efforts to prevent them.
According to the CDC, 4 percent of all patients end up with a healthcare associated infection while hospitalized, and 11 percent of those infections cause a fatality. This means that 1.7 million patients acquire an infection, and 99,000 patients die from this acquired infection each year.
One of the major sources for a healthcare associated infections is transmission through the air, with 22 percent of patients suffering from surgical site infections due to airborne contact with an open wound, and 15 percent receive a lung infection through respiration of infectious particles.
Construction and renovation in a hospital is another major contributor to this problem. The construction work throws up dust, debris, pathogens, and fungal spores that were hidden away, and these get spread through the ventilation system or tracked in on clothes and equipment. Over 7,000 patients die each year from cross contamination that can be traced back to a construction site.
Patients who end up acquiring an infection spend an average of 6.5 extra days in the hospital, and are over 5 times more likely to have to be readmitted after their initial stay. They are also twice as likely to die during this stay. Surgical site infections result in patients being 60 percent more likely to need to be admitted to the intensive care unit.
What can be done to prevent a Healthcare Acquired Infection?
The best way to combat this issue is by being aware of where the main risks are coming from, which is through physical touch and airborne contact. Medical staff should follow proper sterilization procedures constantly, and should wash or sanitize their hands and outfits in between contact with different at risk patients.
Controlling and managing the hospital’s indoor air quality needs to be a priority as well, because the air system is what can make sure patients are isolated and safe from infectious air particles, but only if the system is working properly. Having the correct positive or negative air pressure in a room can ensure that infectious particles are not able to escape or enter the area, protecting the people around.
When construction or renovation is occurring in or near the hospital it is also essential to have a certified Indoor Air Quality professional inspect the area to ensure that nothing from the construction is entering the hospital and causing health issues.
If your hospital needs help figuring out how to reduce the number of Healthcare Acquired Infections it might need an inspection from one of e-nTech’s certified IAQ professionals. Contact us now to find out how we can help keep your patients safe.