Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are a major public health problem in the United States and account for an estimated 2 million infections, and 90,000 deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), A Healthcare Associated Infection (HAI) is defined as a localized or systemic condition resulting from an adverse reaction to the presence of an infectious agent(s) or its toxin(s) that:
- a) occurs in a patient in a healthcare setting
- (b) was not found to be present or incubating at the time of admission unless the infection was related to a previous admission to the same setting
- and c) if the setting is a hospital, meets the criteria for a specific infection site as defined by the CDC.
Hospitals, including Griffin Hospital, routinely practice infection control measures that are put in place to help reduce the risks of infection. Some of the control measures that we use are:
- Standard and Transmission Based Precautions
- Use of antimicrobial dressings for specified central lines
- Total respiratory screening for all patients who undergo an operative procedure
- Interventions recommended by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) such as:
- The "Ventilator Bundle"( practices to prevent ventilator-associated pneumonia such as, elevation of the head of the bed at 30-45 degrees,daily sedation vacation and daily assessment of readiness to extubate, peptic ulcer disease prophylaxis, and deep vein thrombosis prophylaxis)
- Implementation of "components of care to reduce surgical site infections" (appropriate use of antibiotics, appropriate hair removal, and maintaining proper body temperature)
- The "Central Line Bundle" (hand washing, maximal barrier precautions, chlorhexidine skin cleansing, optimal catheter site selection, and daily review of line necessity to prevent central line associated blood stream infections).
We conduct "targeted surveillance" which is data collected for selected infections. The infections that we have targeted are: a) Device associated infections: Ventilator associated pneumonias (VAP), Central line associated blood stream infections (BSI) in the critical care unit, and symptomatic urinary catheter associated urinary tract infections (UTI) in the critical care unit. (Our numerator is based on the number of infections identified at each individual site and the denominator is based on the number of device days for each category); b) Surgical site infections (SSI) for knee arthroplasty, hip arthroplasty, colon surgery, abdominal hysterectomy, and vascular surgery. (Our numerator is based on the number of infections identified in each of the surgical categories and our denominator is based on the number of discharged patients who underwent a specific surgical procedure).