News | August 12, 2007

Infection Control Top Priority

August 13, 2007 — A recent opinion poll conducted by Sage Products Inc., found that infection control practitioners’ (ICPs) top priority is preventing hospital-associated infections (HAI).

In fact of the 128 ICPs that responded, 44 percent are focusing on methicillin-resistant Staphyloccusaureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), two antibiotic-resistant infections. Twenty-nine percent stated surgical-site infection (SSI) prevention as their top priority and 28 percent cited both hospital-associated and ventilator-associated pneumonia as their top priority. The poll was conducted at the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) conference in San Jose, CA June 24-28, 2007.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one in 10 hospitalized patients will acquire an infection after being admitted. That’s 1.75 to 3.5 million HAI incidents annually, resulting in approximately 90,000 patient deaths a year. 1-3

Efforts to reduce SSIs are improving. According to the poll, 66 percent of 133 respondents surveyed said that their hospital is making strides to reduce SSIs, 24 percent stated their efforts have stayed the same and only 10 percent have decreased SSI prevention efforts.

To address risk of SSIs, 138 of respondents said that their hospitals are specifically focusing on: improved hand hygiene and antimicrobial prophylaxis (85 percent), preparation of operative sites (73 percent) and hair removal (70 percent). Other areas of focus include glucose control (62 percent), prevention strategies (58 percent), thermoregulation (52 percent) and oxygen tension optimization (22 percent).

Preoperative antiseptic skin preparation as an infection control measure is proving to be highly effective for reducing SSIs. Although the poll revealed a great variance for when patients scheduled for surgery are receiving preoperative skin preparation, results showed that hospitals are preparing skin before surgery and reducing risk. Fifty-four percent of 124 respondents prepare patients’ skin immediately prior to surgery, 36 percent of respondents prepare patients’ skin 12 hours prior to surgery, 35 percent said skin preparation times vary and 30 percent said they prepare patients’ skin three hours prior to surgery in addition to the prepping that occurs in the operating room.

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