Hospital-Acquired Infections (HAls) – The Need for Pathogen Control
- Approximately 40,000 harmful and or lethal hospital errors occur each and every day in the US.
- Hospital-acquired infections (HAls) take a significant toll on the quality of life for affected patients and their families.
- One out of every 20 patients who are admitted to a hospital will fall victim to an infection they pick up while there, even thou most if not all are preventable.
- HAls affects nearly 2 million patients each year.
- HAIs contribute to nearly 100,000 deaths per year (over 250 per day).
- Hospital-acquired infections can erode a healthcare organization’s bottom line and can result in an average $27,000 in unnecessary costs per patient.
- Hospital-Acquired Infections add over $30 billion a year to the nation’s health tab in added hospital costs.
- Patients with HAls stay in the hospital three to four times longer than those without HAIs. That’s equal to one patient using four beds instead of one. HAIs tie up patient flow and remove opportunities for new admissions.
- Hospital-acquired infections are caused by viral, bacterial, and fungal pathogens; the most common types are bloodstream infection (BSI), pneumonia (e.g., ventilator-associated pneumonia [VAP]), urinary tract infection (UTI), and surgical site infection (SSI).
- Legionella, a gram-negative aerobic bacteria, can be found in most moist environmental niches in hospitals, including potable water from bottles, cold water dispensers, and ice machines. The bacteria are very well adapted to live in damp conditions, due to their ability to form biofilm.
- The biggest problem areas are hospitals and spas. Here in the United States, a study in the Pittsburgh area found that 71 percent of hospitals that tested for Legionella bacteria in their water supply found it. The study’s co-author said, “If you don’t look for it, you won’t find it.”
- Hospitals and other healthcare facilities are significant users of water. Adopting better water management practices can have a significant impact.
- In addition to showers and cooling towers, infection sources include humidifiers, flushing toilets, hydrotherapy pools, ice machines and even dental units.
- Studies have concluded that POU filters, while these do not eradicate Legionella from circulating water within hot and cold water systems, a 0.2 µm POU filter is the only measure that will provide a virtually 100% guarantee of Legionella free water at the final outlet.
- The importance of water purity cannot be stressed enough, as the water source itself may pose potential problems including chemical residues, particulates that may block filters, microorganisms, and bacterial endotoxins. The final rinse water must be microbiologically ‘clean’! This is where the POU filter plays in delivering sterile water filtration for pathogen free water at the final outlet.
- The most widely used water treatment method for sterile water is filtration, using 0.2 µm rated filters, such as SafeTGuard POU Filters, and these are highly effective in the complete removal of bacteria at point of use.
- U.S. hospitals should take aggressive steps to eliminate HAls. Terra Marra can work you’re your infection prevention (IP) team to set ambitious goals to target zero HAIs and improve patient safety and reduce costs.
Breakdown of Healthcare Facility Water Use
Take our FREE online, secure Facility Questionnaire, as an initial Step in developing your Water Management Plan (WMP) that follows the ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 188-2015 Legionellosis Water Safety Plan under forthcoming State regulations.