Saturday, August 13, 2005

Hospital Acquired Infections Report or Not?

I recently read an article by Gail Guterl. She is a consulting editor for Advance for Nurses magazine. She questioned the need for public disclosure of hospital acquired infections. There are 6 six states, Pennsylvania, Florida, Illinois, Missouri, Nevada and Virginia who require this information be public. The author wondered if this was viewed as a public shaming in order to force hospitals to lower the rates of infection.
This could also bring a higher incidence of lawsuits as well. Her question to the readers of the article was "Do we have a solution?"
After a bit of thought, I still think that public disclosure is a good idea. If you try to hide information that could be potentially important to patients, it could be perceived as suspicious. I would like to have as much information about a facility before I am admitted in order to make a more informed choice. If I know that there is a higher rate of post-surgical infection, you can better believe I won't be having surgery there. This information should not be used to punish facilities, but to help them to investigate why the increased infection rates are occurring.
Another thought on the subject of "hospital acquired infections"?? How many times have you instructed family members when a patient is on contact isolation with MRSA, VRE and C-diff about the importance of using the proper precautions? Multiple times I have explained this and find families respond with "I live with so and so. If I was going to be infected, I would already have it." These people pick up the infection and pass them to others. They come into the hospital and culture out with MRSA, C-diff and so on. The hospital is then charged with giving this patient a "hospital acquired infection" since they had none prior. Well, duh! It's a "community acquired infection" and a "hospital acquired infection" together because the families chose not to follow precautions. If I see another child crawling around on the floor of a patient's room at the hospital, I will just scream!!! I have herded out 7 children from a room visiting a patient with C-diff last week. The precautions were posted and the wife was a CNA at another facility. When I approached her and reminded in a nice way about the infection, she just shrugged her shoulders. I told the children to leave the room and visibly dared her to say anything about it. ARGHHHHH!!!!!!!!
If a person wants to infect themselves and take a serious health risk, whatever.. But don't expose your children who are too young to understand the risks.
The solution? Put the visitation restrictions back in place regarding 12 and younger children. No babies allowed in the hospitals. Period. You don't follow precautions before entering a patient's room, you don't get to enter. Period. Watch the number of infections drop. Enough said...

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