Hospital acquired infections are deadly. Hospital acquired infections in U.S. hospitals occur 1.7 million times a year, and 99,000 patients die each year from those infections.1
The beside advocate is the patient’s best shield against acquiring an infection.
Keep a bottle of gel hand sanitizer in the hospital room near you. When any nurses, doctors, other hospital staff or visitors come into the room, the beside advocate should walk or lean toward them and help them take some into their palm.
Never pick anything off the floor and continue to use it for the patient. Anything that hits the floor has to be sanitized immediately or trashed.
Most importantly, remember that the risky and potentially deadly infections that patients get while in the hospital usually start in a surgical wound, or where the patient has a break in his skin or a tube into his body. In fact, 32% of hospital acquired infections are urinary tract infections, 22% are surgical wound infections, 15% are lung infections and 14% are bloodstream infections.1
Be especially vigilant when anyone is about to touch a surgical wound, any open skin surface, or an IV site.
Studies, Footnotes and Resources:
- CDC. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dhqp/hai.html, accessed July 26, 2008.