Individuals who are seriously ill will generally go to the hospital seeking treatment. While taking such a step often saves their life, doing so can carry some unexpected dangers.
One factor that patients have to worry about when visiting a hospital is coming down with a hospital-acquired infection (HAI). Patients don’t just contract these conditions in hospitals, though: They may also acquire them at rehabilitation or surgical centers and nursing homes, so they are sometimes referred to as “health care-acquired infections.”
Your prognosis isn’t all that great if you receive an HAI diagnosis.
Who is most at risk for acquiring an HAI?
Individuals with compromised immune systems, the elderly and younger children are most at risk for contracting an HAI. Anyone who spends an extensive amount of time in a hospital or on various antibiotics also has an elevated risk of infection.
How common are HAIs?
Data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that 1.7 million Americans annually acquire an HAI. Nearly 100,000 patients die after doing so.
Patients who acquire HAIs generally end up spending a week more in the hospital than patients with similar presenting concerns would. Patients who suffer HAIs have five times the likelihood of readmission to the hospital post-discharge. They’re also twice as likely to die if a resurgence of their HAI occurs.
There’s a 60% chance that those individuals who acquire HAIs will end up needing to receive treatment in the intensive care unit (ICU) compared to those who don’t receive such a diagnosis.
HAIs are preventable
Several factors make a patient vulnerable to contracting an HAI, including administering too many antibiotics, employees not properly washing their hands in between patients, and prolonged catheterization. Your medical team can reduce your chances of acquiring a condition such as this by doing a better job of coordinating care. Any instance in which your medical team doesn’t plan for this may expose them to legal liability.