Healthcare Associated Infections
Acquiring a healthcare-associated infection (HAI) is a potential risk to anyone who has invasive medical treatment, surgery, or is hospitalized. Healthcare-associated infections are infections that patients acquire during the course of receiving healthcare treatment for other conditions in a healthcare setting, and these infections can be devastating and deadly. Healthcare settings may include hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, dialysis centers and/or rehabilitation facilities. HAIs are the most common type of harmful event experienced by hospitalized patients, causing an estimated 1.7 million infections each year in the United States.
HAIs can be associated with invasive devices used in medical procedures, such as a central line, urinary catheter or ventilator. The use of such devices can harm patients’ natural defenses against germs and the longer these devices are in place, the greater the risk of infection. Catheter blood infections, ventilator-associated pneumonia, and catheter urinary tract infections account for two-thirds of all healthcare associated infections. HAIs may also occur at surgical sites, known as surgical site infections, or failing to closely follow infection control practices, such as hand washing.