According to the International Nosocomial Infection Control Consortium, 1 in 20 patients in the US and 1 in 10 patients in Europe is likely to contract a Hospital Acquired Infection. In India, the figure is closer to 1 in 4.
According to WHO, an HAI is an infection acquired in hospital by a patient who was admitted for a reason other than that infection, which was not present or incubating at the time of admission. This includes infections acquired in the hospital but appearing after discharge, as well as occupational infections among staff of the facility.
What is the origin of these infections? Other patients. Visitors. Food. Importantly, environmental factors like impure air and unclean surfaces in hospitals, contaminated by microorganisms that attack the already weakened immune systems of hospitalised patients.
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has cited government data that 87,000 healthcare workers were infected by Covid, mostly likely at the workplace. Countless patients admitted for other conditions turned Covid-positive during the hospital stay. This is not a recent phenomenon; HAIs have always complicated other medical conditions, making them more difficult to manage, and causing more deaths than the original conditions.
Not only does this prolong hospital stays and burden the existing healthcare system, it also decreases a hospital’s profitability; infectious diseases in general and HAIs in particular are difficult to treat and do not add much to the bottom line.
Patients, doctors, nursing staff, hospital management and insurance companies: it is in everyone’s interest to prevent HAIs by assigning the responsibility of cleaning and disinfecting healthcare facilities.
In a series of articles, we will look at the association between healthcare housekeeping and infection control, SOPs for cleaning and disinfection, and more. From the latest technology to exacting techniques, this story has it all.