Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are those infections that are acquired as a direct or indirect result of healthcare. Healthcare-associated infections are one of the most common complications affecting patients in hospital. As well as causing unnecessary pain and suffering for patients and their families, a HAI can prolong a patient’s hospital stay and add considerably to the cost of delivering health care.
A HAI can occur in any healthcare setting: hospitals, office-based practices (e.g. general practice clinics, dental clinics, community health facilities), the setting in which paramedics work and long-term care facilities. This means that any person working in or entering a healthcare facility is at risk of a HAI.
The good news is that HAIs ARE potentially preventable.
It is possible to significantly reduce the number of HAIs by:
- Putting in place appropriate infection prevention and control measures to prevent people from getting a HAI, and
- Undertaking HAI surveillance to identify what can be done to improve clinical practice to reduce the risk of HAI acquisition.