Wash Hands, Get Vaccinated to Prevent Infections
Donna Deidrich | posted October 20, 2011 |
This week represents the 25th anniversary of International Infection Prevention Week—the commemoration of the importance of infection prevention around the globe. It’s hot on the heels of a new study in which the authors indicate one in five patients who stay a week in a hospital will get an infection from their stay, events that would be preventable with optimal care. While substantial progress that has been made in preventing some health care-associated infections, there is much room for improvement in achieving the goal of eliminating infections.
For example, in this recent study, "How Dangerous Is a Day in Hospital?," researchers report that on average, every additional night a patient stays in the hospital increases his or her chance of infection by 1.6 percent. The usual causes of the infections are non-sterile equipment, catheter mistakes, or urinary tract infections, according to lead author Dr. Katharina Hauck of Imperial College London. She said one way to reduce these would be early discharge from the hospital and home-based programs. Another recent report found that healthcare-acquired infections are the fourth leading cause of death in this country, affecting 1.7 million inpatients each year.
Proper hand hygiene is the entrance door for reducing healthcare-associated infection and increasing patient safety. Hand washing/antisepsis is a simple action, however according to the World Health Organization, there is problematic compliance among healthcare providers worldwide. The primary ways to increase hand hygiene are healthcare workers’ education; audits of hand hygiene practices and performance feedback; reminders; increased availability of water and soap; automated sinks; and introduction of an alcohol-based hand rub. Hand sanitation should be performed before and after touching the patient; after contact with body fluids, mucous membranes, non-intact skin, or wound dressings; after contact with inanimate surfaces and objects near the patient; and after removing gloves.
Another major area to consider for infection prevention is influenza vaccination for healthcare personnel . The flu has high rates of morbidity and mortality. According to the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), in the U.S., an estimated 5-15 percent of the population is affected by the virus each year, which comes out to about 226,000 hospital admissions and 36,000 deaths annually. Healthcare workers are considered high risk for catching the flu because they are exposed to ill patients and large numbers of people in the community. Because those people who are at greatest risk of developing complications of influenza are exposed to healthcare workers in a variety of in-patient and outpatient settings, one surefire way to protect them is to immunize healthcare professionals.
Read more about International Infection Prevention Week at the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.
Occupational Therapy Month | posted March 27, 2013
National Occupational Therapy month is a time to bring awareness to the benefits and importance of occupational therapy. We want to take this opportunity to thank our occupational therapists for their commitment to improving the lives of thousands of individuals every day of the year.
Fourth Annual WALK! with Aegis Event | posted September 24, 2012
The fourth annual WALK! with Aegis Therapies 2012 is this week, and we’re thrilled to see this year’s participants take charge and promote active aging! We’re expecting one of the largest nationwide turnouts with over 670 registered locations and thousands of participants joining the WALK! with Aegis Therapies.
Occupational therapy helps those with Alzheimer’s | posted August 16, 2012
Alzheimer’s disease is a devastating illness that affects at least 5.4 million Americans. Occupational therapists offer treatments that can promote safety and enhance a patient’s quality of life, in addition to providing comfort and care for people with the disease and their families.