Hospital Acquired Infections (HAI)

A Hospital Acquired Infection (HAI) is one that is neither present nor incubating at the time a patient is admitted to hospital.

  • At any given time, 9% of patients in hospital have a HAI
  • Patients with a HAI stay on average 2.5 times longer in hospital (+11 days)
  • Patients with a HAI are 7.1 times more likely to die in hospital
  • HAI is amongst the top 10 causes of death in the USA
  • In the UK, the cost of HAI is 1 billion Pounds per year (GBP 2,917 per patient)

According to a study done in Nigeria in 2009, (re-usable) “thermometers have the potential to harbour and transmit anti-biotic resistant bacteria in hospital settings”.

The study shows that:

  • Overall 62,1% of thermometers were infected
  • In nursing stations and children’s wards, 100% of thermometers were infected
  • The bacterial isolates were resistant to the majority of the antibiotics tested

The use of disposable thermometers limits the risk of cross infection

Thermometers are:

  • One of the last devices still shared between patients!
  • One of the only few devices used on EVERY patient!

This results in:

  • Major risks of cross infection
  • High rate of HAI
  • Exorbitant, wasteful costs

International Federation of Infection Control (Ref.3)

The cost of HAI are huge and include patient morbidity and mortality, hospital and community costs, the impact of blocked beds, and wider socio-economic costs.

The costs of infection control programs and staffing are relatively small and with only a small degree of effectiveness they can pay for themselves.

Investment in infection control is therefor highly cost effective.

HAI Graphics

HAI References

1. David Schwegman, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine. Prevention of Cross Transmission of Microorganisms is Essential to Preventing Outbreaks of Hospital-Acquired Infections. Emory University, Sept. 2009

2. The Management and Control of Hospital Acquired Infection in Acute NHS Trusts in England. Report by the Controller and Auditor General, UK, Feb.2000

3. International Federation of Infection Control. The costs of Hospital Infection. Infection Control: Basic Concepts and Practices, 2nd edition