When we think about health and medicine institutions, we tend to associate them with sterile environments, when in fact, they are filled with numerous health risks. Healthcare acquired infections, also known as hospital-acquired infections or HAI, are bacterial or fungal infections occurring in the hospital environment; this can be due to poor hygiene regulations, lack of attention, or simple mistakes. It is almost impossible to contain all infection in a hospital, where so many things happen every day, and where thousands of people circulate. Even though a hospital may have the strictest regulations, mistakes can still happen, and you find yourself in even a worse situation than you were when you got in.Healthcare Acquired Infections picture
There are people and studies dedicated to reducing healthcare acquired infections and improving methods of hygiene and sterilizations in health and medicine facilities, but tens of thousands of people still die everyday from complications brought on by infections. These infections can be spread in contact with infected objects, or circulate among hospital staff; for an ill patient, with weakened immune system, a simple infection can lead to pneumonia and other complications, and even death. Medical negligence occurs at every step, and acting wrongly by mistake can happen to anyone with such a stressful job as working in a hospital, whether you’re a doctor, nurse, or janitor.
Healthcare acquired infections, also called nosocomial infections, are more of a risk for patients who need to be hospitalized or subjected to surgery, because they are more ill than others. Yet because we know of their existence and the possibility of getting infected, we can do all our best to prevent them. One way in which you can protect yourself against infection is to get tested for MRSA and/or C Dificile when you get hospitalized, so you can make sure that you weren’t suffering from them before the hospital. Then, if you get infected while in, you have the tests to prove that you acquired the infections inside the hospital.
Of course, some will say that the easiest way to avoid healthcare acquired infections is to choose the cleanest and safest hospital you can find, but not everyone can afford that luxury. People with smaller health insurance don’t get to be picky, but they shouldn’t suffer because of that. Moreover, if you can, be attentive to everything that your doctors and nurses do for you; ask them questions about the procedures, and analyze how you are feeling after the treatments. Although it may not be the most polite thing, try to see whether hospital staff maintain hygiene standards; if you notice they want to perform a procedure on you immediately after treating another patient, insist on hand washing. Even a simple procedure such a changing your catheter can lead to serious infections, so it’s better to be rude than ill.
Speaking of catheters, you should also make sure that the nurses change them as often as possible, and that tools and utensils that are used on you don’t get in contact with germs from unsafe surfaces. These are just some of the things you can do to prevent and deal with healthcare acquired infections; if, unfortunately you get infected and your situation worsens, you might like to think about hiring a medical negligence solicitor and asking for compensation claims.