The phrase healthcare associated infection refers to infections that are acquired by individuals in the course of receiving treatment for a totally different condition or disease within a health care institution. The infections can be acquired in any place where the health care is being provided. The classification for the infections can be broadly divided in to four groups. The first and the most common are the infections associated with the urinary tract. The second category involves infections from the site of the surgery, although this has seen considerable decline over the last five years owing to advancements in technology. The third category involves infections of the bloodstream with the last category being the pneumonia infection.
These facilities might include but are not limited to:
- Hospitals that offer acute care to the inpatients
- Outpatient settings such as the ambulatory surgical centers
- Renal disease facilities that offer end stage care at this stage of treatment
- Centers that offer rehabilitation services to the individuals there. This is especially for long term patients.
The infections may be caused by a number of factors with the most common being attributed to bacteria, viruses and fungi. Some of the pathogens that are less commonly known have also been known to be causative factors in this regard. The infections are caused by a wide array of risk factors and this includes:
- Surgical operations and procedures that may not fully take into account the safety and health conditions of the surrounding
- Injections that may not be fully certified to cover the medical procedure in the right manner.
- General contamination with the surrounding environment in which the health care is being provided
- Improper usage of antibiotics. This can also be closely related with an overuse of the same leading to medical infections
- The use of the medical devices that are of indwelling nature such as the bloodstream, the urinary catheters and the endotracheal system
It is important to appreciate the extent of the problem particularly given the magnitude of the concern. According to the American Medical Association, the healthcare associated infections are a high cause of mortality and morbidity across the globe. Further to this, it is estimated that at every single time, for every twenty five inpatients, one will have contracted an infection. The infections also lead to billions of cash being incurred by the health care facilities to try and rectify the situation.
Various Categories of Healthcare Associated Infections
The infections have been allocated descriptions based on analysis of reports over the recent past. These include the following categorizations:
Central Line Bloodstream Infection
This is a primary infection in the patient and is one contracted with a central line usually two days before the symptoms become apparent.
Methicillin resistant Bloodstream Infection
This is a blood infection that is caused by a type of bacteria resistant to vancomycin. This refers to the drug administered to cure infections in the intestines and the female urinary tract.
Surgical Site Infection
This is an infection whose occurrence takes place after the surgery has been performed. The most common types of this kind of infection are normally superficial involving the skin only. However, some of the most serious infections involve the internal tissues and organs. The most recent illustration of this infection involves internal implantations.
While the goal has always been to prevent the healthcare associated infections with the objective of eliminating their occurrence in the long run, care has to be taken at all stages of the treatment. Whether the treatment takes one day or requires that the patient be admitted, the basic hygienic and medical standards should be adhered to at all times.