Are you at risk of acquiring a hospital infection after surgery?

Hospital infections acquired post surgery have been on the rise. As a patient, it is never anticipated to go in for an everyday surgery such as a knee scope, appendectomy, or breast biopsy and end up fighting off an infection. Hospitals are breeding grounds for bugs and germs. This is not meant to scare you, yet more to create awareness. The place you go to feel better and get help for a medical condition could potentially create more harm than good.

A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found hospital staff frequently failed to take proper precautions to prevent the spread of infections. This qualitative study involved direct observation inside and outside 325 patient rooms on clinical units from March 1, 2016, to November 30, 2016. Observations occurred in medical and/or surgical units and intensive care units at an academic medical center and a Veterans Affairs hospital, as well as the emergency department of the university hospital.

Trained observers made field notes while hospital staff cared for patients in precautions for a pathogen transmitted through contact, such as Clostridium difficile and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Of the 325 observations, researchers found 283 failures, including 102 violations (deviations from safe operating practices or procedures), 144 process or procedural mistakes (failures of intention) and 37 slips (failures of execution).

Violations included staff going into rooms without some or all recommended personal protective equipment, as well as staff touching their own face with infected gloves. While this showcases self-contamination for hospital staff and is limited to one hospital, it raises the question,

What are hospitals doing to prevent the spread of infection?

Here are a few precautionary measures being taken-

1- Handwashing

2- Hand sanitizer in all of the rooms.

3- Gloves

4- Keeping foods at proper temperatures.

5- Not allowing patients to walk barefoot.

6- Changing linens daily and when dirty – (Hospital room beds can be a major culprit)

7- Cleansing the skin prior to surgery

8- Disinfecting surfaces

While these and more are happening, we are still seeing a rise in superbugs. Superbugs can be described as infections that are resisting antibiotics. These bugs are posing threats to hospital care and treatment. In 2015, insurance companies stopped reimbursing hospitals for patients that contracted an infection on their watch. This acknowledges the rise in hospital infection after surgery or treatment.

This localized study proves there needs to be more done to protect and prevent the spread of harmful germs and bacteria that cause infection. Don’t believe us? Just ask your friends on facebook who has gone in for a routine procedure, and left with a hospital infection. The responses will surprise you, it is more common than you may believe.

Source: JAMA / Becker’s Hospital Review