Visiting the Hospital
A hospital is an organized place, set up for the provision of medical care to individuals, where physicians, doctors, nurses, and other health workers work round the clock to save lives.
Visiting the hospital is not an idea of a great time, but if there is a reason for having to visit the hospital either now or later, it is imperative that one has a basic understanding of the associated risk factors that one could be exposed to.
While some people present themselves to be cured of their ill-health at the hospital, others contract similar diseases from essential places like the hospitals.
In recent times, the rate at which diseases, typically known as healthcare-associated or hospital-acquired disease, are being contracted has been increasing at quite an alarming rate. And so, it begs the question of whether hospitals are health care centers or death traps?
Over the last decades, the existence and unpleasant problems from healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) have been acknowledged in the news. HAIs continue to surge at an increasing rate. Previously, hospital-acquired diseases were regarded as infections related to admittance in critical care units in hospitals. Now, it also applies to that contracted during treatment in health care facilities. These unexpected infections could result in consequential patient sickness and death.
The patients stay in the hospital is elongated and requires additional diagnostic and treatment interventions. Mostly, it necessitates additional cost to those already incurred by the patient’s initial infections. HAIs are the unwanted outcome. Some can be prevented and are used as indices to access patient care quality in health care facilities. Their mode of transmission includes direct contact with unsterilized equipment, hospital staff, and droplets from aerosol, food and ill patients.
Healthcare-acquired infections are very common, posing a great danger to persons and patients’ safety. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality opined that Americans in their tens of thousands lose their lives annually. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also documented that approximately one in twenty-five Americans catch Hospital Acquired Infections every day. These patients are received in hospitals, ill, exhausting, weary and easily vulnerable to existing infections. Other people in the hospitals; some healthy, and others sick can be a source of a pathogen.
The moment a patient goes down with the disease, stay duration elongates; some by months. In most cases, through effective management, control, and care, patients eventually exit the hospital. But in other situations, they lose their lives.
99,000 out of 1.7 million HAI infected Americans die annually from infections. Owing to the widespread nature of HAIs, and the fact that many of them can be avoided, the Medicare system sanctions hospitals with a high rate of HAIs. The sanctions are in place to support the hospitals to improve their preventive approaches and strategies.
Common sources of diseases include
HAIs are acquired as a result of dereliction and violation of control practices and methods, non-sterile surfaces, sick patients and untidy environment. Typically, surgical wound infection, genitourinary infections, respiratory disease, and gastrointestinal infections are chief sources. Each year, about 100 million surgical procedures are scheduled and carried out in hospitals; conversely, a surge in nosocomial infection cases is also documented worldwide. Patients regarded as immune-compromised, including the elderly and children, are at a higher risk of contracting them.
A) Catheter-associated Urinary Tract Infections (CAUTI): The urinary tract infection (UTI) diseases are an infection that involves the part of the urinary system viz- kidney, bladder, urethra, and ureters. They are the most typical of the healthcare-associated disease brought to the awareness of the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN).
About 75% of all UTIs contracted in the hospital is related to the urinary catheter. The Urinary catheter is a hollow cylindrical plastic thrust into the bladder via the urethra to withdraw urine. Roughly, 15 to 25% of all in-patients acquire urinary catheter during their stay in the hospital. An elongated use of the catheter increases the risk of UTI infection
B) Surgical Site Infection (SSI): SSI is an infection which manifests after surgical procedures in the region of the body where the procedures were done. Seldom, the surgical site infections could be the surface type that is associated with the skin while others may have an association with internal organs or implanted substances.
The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gives measures and methods to healthcare facilities to assist surgical site infections and resources and help create awareness of these infections and effectively work at forestalling its occurrences.
C) Ventilator-associated Pneumonia (VAP): The Ventilator-associated pneumonia is an infection of the lungs that emanates from the use of the breathing enhancement machine (ventilator). The ventilator is used to assist or achieve respiration on a patient. This is done by passing oxygen to the lungs via a tube through the nose or mouth. There could be an infection if germs are locking around the tube conveying oxygen into the patient’s lungs.
D) Clostridium difficile Infection: Many persons receiving medical care contract the infection, which may be caused by micro-organism termed as C. difficile. An estimated 500 thousand patients, who were admitted to US health facilities in 2011, died of C. difficile related infections. About 29,000 of these estimates lost their lives 30 days after diagnosis.
Elderly individuals are highly susceptible to this infection. Other related organisms in this class include Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) and Carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae (CRKP), and Necrotizing fasciitis. These organisms are sometimes referred to as superbugs because they are quite difficult to kill.
E) Associated bloodstream infections: Inadequacies in management and control of procedures sometimes expose patients to diseases. For instance, the New Jersey Department of Health reported a likelihood of exposing about 3,000 patients at HealthPlus Surgery Center in Saddle Brook to HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.
The patients, according to authority, who had surgical operations in the facility between January 2018 and September 7, 2018, stood a high risk of contracting the disease. Betty McCabe, the surgery center administrator, stated that the inadequacies in the control and management (sterilization and cleaning) of instruments and injectables might have predisposed patients to bloodborne organisms.
So the question on whether hospitals are death traps, given these pieces of information, is left to your determination. Fortunately, HAIs can be avoided by doing the following: Follow standard prevention provisions for infections and diseases control, wash and sanitize your hands after every contact with surfaces and other infected patients, improve personal hygiene, totally sterilize instruments, and improve environmental sanitation.
Patients should also watch out for themselves, maintain and follow the best standards for curtailing the spread of disease. If in direct contact with an infected patient, clean your hands. It may surprise you to know that only a few hospitals make a concerted effort to prevent HAIs. And so, it is therefore imperative that patients live up to the task of protecting themselves from contracting diseases in hospitals.
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