All Points Medical Waste Blog

Healthcare Associated Infections

Are you putting patients & staff at risk?

As a healthcare professional or operator of a healthcare facility, it’s your mission to help people suffering from illnesses, to send them home feeling better and on the road to recovery from whatever ailment they came to you with. But it is not uncommon for folks to leave a hospital or have their stay prolonged because of a totally unrelated illness, an infection that they didn’t have previously. Healthcare Associated Infections are dangerous—and could cause serious health risks, even death. They also cause prolonged hospital stays, additional diagnostic and therapeutic interventions and generate additional costs. Take a look at what causes them and what you and your staff need to do to prevent them:

What is an HAI?

An HAI (Healthcare Associated Infection) is an unanticipated infection that is caused by fungi, bacteria, viruses or other pathogens that are transmitted into a person’s body while they’re being treated or having a procedure. These organisms usually enter the body via an IV, a catheter, a ventilator or because of long-term antibiotic use. Some of the most common HAIs include:

  • Catheter-associated urinary tract infection
  • Central-line association bloodstream infection
  • Surgical site infection
  • Ventilator-associated events
  • Pneumonia

Who is at risk?

Any patient can develop an HAI but there are certain factors that increase the risk of infection, including age, overall health, strength of the immune system, complications from surgery and the length of hospital stay. Patients can also contract infections that are transmitted from patient to patient or from healthcare workers.

How do you prevent them?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention use knowledge gained from HAI surveillance and outbreak investigations to develop best practices for the prevention and control of Healthcare Associated Infections. But the key aspect of prevention is the due diligence of healthcare professionals within the hospital, clinic, treatment facilities and other healthcare organizations. To ensure that you’re doing all you can to prevent these dangerous infections, follow these protocols:

  • Ensure proper sanitation of all multi-use devices
  • Enforce proper hygiene steps by all workers, including washing of hands, wearing of surgical gloves and protective gear and disposing of used items every time, even if they appear clean
  • Keep all medical waste properly separated and ensure waste items are disposed of in FDA approved containers, do not overfill or allow waste items to spill
  • Discard any tools or items that cannot be sterilized
  • Make OSHA training and medical waste disposal training mandatory for all employees

HAIs are a real threat to the health and welfare of your patients and staff. To help prevent the spread of these dangerous infections, be sure to follow these steps. To learn more about healthcare related issues and medical waste topics please visit our blog.

All Points Medical Waste is a locally-owned and operated family business that provides full-service medical waste disposal to clients throughout South Florida, from Indian River County all the way to Broward County.

Dawn Connelly

Dawn is the vice president of All Points Medical Waste. All Points Medical Waste is a family-owned and operated medical waste disposal and compliance company that has been serving the Treasure Coast, Palm Beaches, and surrounding areas since 1994.
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