Many US hospitals fall short in preventing infections

February 19, 2014
Many U.S. hospitals fall short in preventing infections
Study authors consider findings 'a call to action.'

(HealthDay)—Many U.S. hospitals don't follow rules meant to protect patients from preventable and potentially deadly infections, a new study shows.

Researchers examined adherence to control policies in more than 1,600 intensive care units at 975 hospitals across the nation.

They focused on three of the most common types of preventable infections in hospitals: central line-associated bloodstream infections; catheter-associated urinary tract infections; and ventilator-associated pneumonia.

About one in 10 hospitals did not have checklists to prevent , and one in four did not have checklists to prevent ventilator-associated pneumonia. About one-third of hospitals had no policy to prevent catheter-associated .

"Hospitals aren't following the rules they put in place themselves to keep patients safe," team leader Patricia Stone, a professor of health policy at Columbia University School of Nursing, said in a Columbia news release. "Rules don't keep patients from dying unless they're enforced."

Even when hospitals had checklists, they were followed only about half of the time, the researchers report in the February issue of the American Journal of Infection Control.

Each year in the United States, health care-associated infections cause about 100,000 deaths and lead to about $33 billion in extra medical costs, according to background information with the study.

"Every should see this research as a call to action—it's just unconscionable that we're not doing every single thing we can, every day, for every patient, to avoid preventable infections," Stone said.

One way that hospitals can improve compliance with infection control rules is to have an electronic monitoring system that tracks if health care workers are following infection control rules. Previous research has shown that these systems reduce infection rates. Only about one-third of the ICUs in the study had this type of system.

Another approach is to have staff who are certified in , but more than one-third of the hospitals in the study did not have a full-time person with such qualifications, the researchers noted.

Explore further: Infection control practices not adequately implemented at many hospital ICUs

More information: The National Patient Safety Foundation outlines how hospital patients can protect themselves from infections.

Related Stories

Infection control practices not adequately implemented at many hospital ICUs

January 29, 2014
U.S. hospital intensive care units (ICUs) show uneven compliance with infection prevention policies, according to a study in the February issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official publication of the ...

Few hospitals aggressively combat catheter-associated urinary tract infections

December 8, 2011
Hospitals are working harder than ever to prevent hospital-acquired infections, but a nationwide survey shows few are aggressively combating the most common one – catheter-associated urinary tract infections.

Evaluation of hospital infection prevention policies can identify opportunities for improvement

October 29, 2013
Identifying gaps in infection prevention practices may yield opportunities for improved patient safety, according to a survey published in the November issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official publication ...

Low adoption by large hospital ICUs of catheter-associated urinary tract infection precautions

October 23, 2012
Hospital size matters when it comes to intensive care units (ICUs) adopting even the most routine prevention policies for catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI), according to a new study from researchers at ...

Study estimates costs of health-care-associated infections

September 2, 2013
A study estimates that total annual costs for five major health care-associated infections (HAIs) were $9.8 billion, with surgical site infections contributing the most to overall costs, according to a report published by ...

Medicare/Medicaid policy shift didn't budge hospital infection rates: study

October 10, 2012
(HealthDay)—A 2008 shift in Medicare/Medicaid policy that cut off reimbursements for costs related to preventable infections in hospitals did not improve infection rates, new research indicates.

Recommended for you

Novel therapies for multidrug-resistant bacteria

October 23, 2017
During this innovative study published in PLOS One, researchers found that novel classes of compounds, such as metal-complexes, can be used as alternatives to or to supplement traditional antibiotics, which have become ineffective ...

Key discoveries offer significant hope of reversing antibiotic resistance

October 23, 2017
Resistance to antibiotics is becoming increasingly prevalent and threatens to undermine healthcare systems across the globe. Antibiotics including penicillins, cephalosporins and carbapenems are known as β-lactams and are ...

Pneumonia vaccine under development provides 'most comprehensive coverage' to date, alleviates antimicrobial concerns

October 20, 2017
In 2004, pneumonia killed more than 2 million children worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. By 2015, the number was less than 1 million.

Newly discovered viral marker could help predict flu severity in infected patients

October 20, 2017
Flu viruses contain defective genetic material that may activate the immune system in infected patients, and new research published in PLOS Pathogens suggests that lower levels of these molecules could increase flu severity.

Migraines may be the brain's way of dealing with oxidative stress

October 19, 2017
A new perspective article highlights a compelling theory about migraine attacks: that they are an integrated mechanism by which the brain protects and repairs itself. Recent insightful findings and potential ways to use them ...

H7N9 influenza is both lethal and transmissible in animal model for flu

October 19, 2017
In 2013, an influenza virus that had never before been detected began circulating among poultry in China. It caused several waves of human infection and in late 2016, the number of people to become sick from the H7N9 virus ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.