As indicated in the discussions on the more prevalent diseases, the impact of HAIs on health care is significant. First patients are kept in the hospital longer than planned because of these infections. This results in additional costs for their healthcare as well as increased exposure to the dangerous microorganisms putting them at greater risk for further infections. Mohr et al (2005) have indicated that the mortality and morbidity rates of patients affected by HAIs are significantly increased with the presence of HAIs.
Furthermore the cost of these infections to those accessing health further compounds the issues. Patients have to deal with these infections in addition to the infection they originally reported to the hospital for. Additionally the continuing trend of HAIs may contribute to a diminished confidence in the health care system. Though people do not seem to be alarmed by these rates now (Stommen, 2007) when the figures are put into context of other diseases then they become worrying. HAIs rival some of the common diseases in terms of mortality when one takes into account deaths that the attributable mortality from HAIs.
Mohr et al (2005) observe that close to 33% of HAIs are preventable and, once necessary precautions are taken, and proper infection control programs are followed considerable amount of money would be saved in healthcare costs and the rates of mortality and morbidity from these infections would improve. Measures used to counter HAIs Since a considerable amount of these infections can be prevented, necessary precautions should be taken to ensure the safety of patients admitted to the hospital (Rizzo & Odle, 2006).
Hospitals and other healthcare facilities have developed comprehensive programs to ensure infection control programs and to minimize or prevent healthcare associated infections. The main thrust of these programs is on identifying the procedures that put patients at the highest risk as well as additional sources of infection. Hospitals have identified urinary catheter insertion as one of those high risk procedures and outlined sanitary conditions under which they should be preformed.
Among the strategies is to minimize the length of time that catheters are left in the bladder, being present for as minimal a time as possible. Hospitals are also mandating and reinforcing the sterilization of medical instruments and equipment in order to free them from contamination. Additionally personnel are required to cleanse their hands frequently to avoid transmitting microorganisms between and among patients and themselves. The use of antibiotics is encouraged only when absolutely necessary since their usage creates conditions favorable to the formation of the fungal organism Candida which cause infections.
Overuse of antibiotics is also responsible for the development of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics (Rizzo & Odle, 2006). Since HAIs are more prevalent in ICUs, infection control programs with limited resources are encouraged to maximize their benefits by focusing on these areas (Mohr et al. , 2005). The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) oversees these practices in hospitals. They inspect hospitals for quality and accredit them accordingly (Rizzo & Odle, 2006). Conclusion
HAIs are indeed dangerous within the hospital or other health care setting, putting not only the life of the affected patient at risk, but also other persons in the environment, including the health care workers. Some infections may spread and, as is the case with infections such as MRSA, some are resistant to traditional treatment and are thus difficult to manage. The cost of these infections to healthcare is indeed tremendous and it seems as if health practitioners are not taking note of the incidences of these infections throughout the US.
More structure strategies with greater enforcements need to be in place in hospitals so that the situation can be improved and patients can receive the care they are in need of.
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