Groups issue infection control guidelines
Last year a survey of hospitals showed that 87 percent did not consistently follow infection-control guidelines. In response, the American Hospital Association, the Joint Commission on Accreditation and top epidemiological societies, including the Infectious Desesases Society, the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology and the Association of Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, joined to issue more concise and clear recommended guidelines. They include renewed emphasis on vigorous hand-washing, particularly before inserting catheters, warnings against using razors for pre-surgical hair removal, and other measures which have been widely publicized in the past.
Figures show that 1 in 22 hospitalized patients suffer from a hospital ("nosocomial") infection, and that there are 1.7 million per year in American, with 99,000 patients dying as a result. The cost of their care runs an estimated $20 billion dollars per year. Experts say the problem has been a lack of compliance, not a lack of guidlines. The six conditions addressed in the new guidelines are central-line-associated bloodstream infections, ventilator-associated pneumonia, catheter-associated urinary tract infections, surgical site infections, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and Clostridium difficile (an intestinal bacteria). Recent studies have shown that a renewed emphasis on prevention of these infections can dramatically reduce the infection rate in a given institution.