Hospitals Not Doing Enough to Stop the Spread of Preventable Infections

Hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) are a serious concern in the United States. Billions of dollars are spent every year on treating hospital-acquired infections, and approximately 100,000 deaths occur every year from what are mostly preventable infections. Many facilities have implemented safety standards to reduce rates, but a new study finds that it may not be working as well as it should.

Researchers looked at infection control measures being taken in more than 1,600 intensive care units (ICUs) across the United States (involving 976 hospitals). Two key factors were found in the hospitals that fell short in preventing the spread of infection.

One was a failure to implement an infection control system — which is most often executed through checklists. And the other was not following through on it when there was a system in place.

The study focused primarily on these top three most preventable infections that occur in hospital settings: 

  • catheter-associated urinary tract infections;
  • ventilator-associated pneumonia; and
  • central line-associated bloodstream infections. 

When it came to these infections, approximately one-third of the hospitals in the study didn’t have checklists in place to prevent them. The researchers also found that nearly half of those facilities that did have a checklist system in place didn’t follow them.

It’s believed that more needs to be done to make certain infection control standards are not only instituted, but also followed through. Previous research has shown infection rates improved with electronic monitoring systems to ensure compliance. Yet only one-third of ICUs analyzed in the study use them.

Another method to combat hospital-acquired infections is to have on staff medical professionals who are certified in infection control. This was another deficiency found in the study.

To learn if a hospital-acquired infection was caused by negligence, contact a staff member at Gacovino, Lake & Associates. It may allow for a victim or the family of a loved one who suffered fatal injuries to be compensated. Call at the first sign of what you think is a hospital-acquired infection: 800-550-0000.

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