Increase in Hospital Infection Rates In Spite Of Control Measures

bandaid.jpgThe numbers of patients who contracted certain kinds of potentially deadly infections while in hospital, actually increased over last year. According to a study by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, overall patient safety ratings have improved across the nation, but there has been an increase in blood stream infections and urinary tract infections.

According to the report,
• The rate of bloodstream infections increased at a rate of 8%.
• Urinary tract infections increased at a rate of 4%.
• There was no change in the rate of bloodstream infections caused through catheters placed in central veins.
• There was a 12% drop in the rates of postoperative pneumonia. This was the only good news on the list.

This year’s report looked at 33 separate measures, and found progress on all measures, but a few. The report said that there had been overall progress made in patient safety, but that this progress has been too slow to really register. The biggest concern that arises from this report is that in spite of heavy media attention on hospital-acquired infection rates, and the development of effective strategies to block these increases, there hasn’t been as much progress in preventing hospital infections as Indiana medical malpractice lawyers had hoped.

This is in spite of the fact that preventing hospital infections is usually just a matter of putting into effect easy steps. These include • Using a checklist before, during and after surgical procedures • Better enforcement of hand hygiene rules
• Better enforcement of equipment sterility rules • Better use of antibiotics before and after surgical procedures
We have blogged in the past about central line infections, considered some of the deadliest hospital-acquired bugs. These can cause deadly bloodstream infections, including sepsis. Several hospitals around the country have seen a substantial decrease in central line infection rates, by putting the above steps into force.

Hospitals that have not seemed so willing to change their rigid ways could have an incentive in 2015. The new health reform laws will punish hospitals that have high infection rates, hopefully goading these centers to minimize their infection rates.