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Evaluating healthcare-associated infections

Most in Bozeman head to the hospital or doctor’s office expecting to find relief from their ailments, not to have their problems exacerbated. However, many may find out that the mere act of seeking treatment can put them in harm’s way. According to information shared by the World Health Organization, healthcare-associated infections are the most commonly reported adverse event related to healthcare in the entire world, with seven out of every 100 patients in developed countries at risk of acquiring one.

Information shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists the following as being among the most common types of HAIs:

  •          Central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs): Issues caused by failure to clean or properly place a tube into a large vein.
  •          Surgical site infections (SSIs): Bacteria and germs entering the body through a surgical incision.
  •          Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs): Problems from having a catheter placed incorrectly or not being removed or cleaned in a timely manner.
  •          Hospital-onset clostridium difficile infections (C. difficile infections): Complications associated with the destruction of infection-fighting bacteria in the body following the taking of antibiotics.
  •          Hospital-onset bloodstream infections (MRSA Bacteremia): Infections resulting from methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus bacteria entering the body (usually from contaminated instruments or hands).

In some cases, HAIs cause little more than mild skin irritation. In others, however, they can lead to life-threatening gastrointestinal distress or blood infections. Almost all HAIs are preventable through effective provider-established infection controls.

The potential for HAI transmission is tracked using a standardized infection ratio, which is determined by dividing the predicted number of infections by the actual number of occurrences. The CDC shows Montana SIRs to be below national averages in all areas but CAUTIs. However, those numbers are derived from only a handful of the state’s 63 hospitals. 

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