Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs) remain a clinical concern – especially among patients in critical settings. HAIs are the most frequent adverse event in healthcare delivery worldwide1. Healthcare Associated Infections (HAIs) are complications of healthcare and are linked with high morbidity and mortality. Every year, approximately 1 in 25 US hospital patients are diagnosed with at least one infection related to hospital care alone; not including additional infections in other healthcare settings2.
Millions of patients are affected by these HAIs worldwide each year, which lead to significant mortality and financial loss for health systems1. In American hospitals alone, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate that HAIs account for an estimated 1.7 million infections and 99,000 associated deaths each year3.
Hospital Acquired Infections, also known as ‘nosocomial’ or ‘healthcare associated’ infections occur in patients under medical care. They affect 7% of every 100 hospitalized patients4. HAIs are caused by viral, bacterial, and fungal pathogens. As these infections occur during a hospital stay they can increase the length of time a patient spends in hospital and therefore create substantial economic burden. WHO estimates that 7% of all patients admitted into healthcare facilities will get at least one Hospital Acquired Infection5.
Reports indicate that at any one time, more than 1.4 million people worldwide are estimated to suffer from infections acquired in hospitals. Because of an increase in invasive procedures and a growing resistance to antibiotics, HAIs have increased by 36% in the last 20 years and are consuming more healthcare resources each year6.
The field of infection prevention has made some significant advancements in recent years, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, that could be put into every day practice. However, if healthcare facilities revert back to their previous practices, the benefits will be short-lived. Now is the time to think about what the future of infection prevention should look like. Infection Preventionists can use recent learnings to help fight against antimicrobial resistant organisms and HAIs, which are projected to have a major impact on cost and morbidity for the foreseeable future.
7 Types of Infection Control Precautions
1. Hand Hygiene
- Perform hand hygiene by means of hand rubbing or hand washing
- Ensure availability of hand-washing facilities with clean running water
- Ensure availability of hand hygiene products (clean water, soap, single use clean towels, alcohol-based hand rub).
- Hand washing (40-60 sec); wet hands and apply soap; rub all surfaces; rinse hands and dry thoroughly with a single use towel; use towel to turn off faucet.
2. Environmental Cleaning
- Use adequate procedures for the routine cleaning and disinfection of environmental and other frequently touched surfaces
3. Patient Care Equipment
- Handle equipment soiled with blood, body fluids, secretions and excretions in a manner that prevents skin and mucous membrane exposures, contamination of clothing, and transfer of pathogens to other patients or the environment
- Clean, disinfect and reprocess reusable equipment appropriately before use with another patient
4. Waste Disposal
- Ensure safe waste management
- Treat waste contaminated with blood, body fluids, secretions and excretions as clinical waste, in accordance with local regulations
- Discard single use items properly
- By switching to non-contact thermometers this eliminates the need for single use plastic probe covers. These plastic probe covers, required by traditional contact thermometers, must be changed after every use and because they are deemed medical waste must be incinerated. This is costly and extremely detrimental to the environment.
- Handle, transport, and process used linen in a manner which;
- Prevents skin and mucous membrane exposures and contamination of clothing
- Avoids transfer of pathogens to other patients and/or the environment
- Wear when touching blood, body fluids, secretions, excretions, mucous membranes, nonintact skin
- Change between tasks and procedures on the same patient after contact with potentially infectious material
- Remove after use, before touching non-contaminated items and surfaces and before going to another patient. Perform hand hygiene immediately after removal
7. Facial Protection (Eyes, Nose and Mouth)
- Wear a surgical or procedure mask and eye protection (face shield, goggles) to prevent mucous membranes of the eyes, nose and mouth during activities that are likely to generate splashes or sprays of blood, body fluids, secretions and excretions
TRITEMP™ is a hospital grade non-contact thermometer, engineered specifically to withstand use in busy healthcare environments. TRITEMP™ will benefit infection control agendas as it does not come into direct contact with the patient, meaning that the spread of infection through contact is reduced. One hospital study showed that only 1.3%–5.3% of nurses cleaned stethoscopes, contact thermometers, pulse oximeters, and glucometers right after using these devices for patients, as these are considered as NCME (Non-critical Medical Equipment)7. And yet, thermometers are essential vital signs monitoring devices, used on every patient, in every ward, every day.
Additionally, TRITEMP™ does not require any plastic probe covers so there is no disposal of contaminated clinical waste. A 900-bed hospital takes around 2-3 million temperature readings per year, which means 2-3 million plastic probe covers for disposal and 2-3 million unnecessary contact points with patients8.
70% of respondents in a recent survey said that TRITEMP™ requires less frequent disinfection procedures than their current device, while 90% of respondents agreed that TRITEMP™ has the potential to prevent the transmission of infection8.
More than half of Hospital Acquired Infections are considered preventable4. By following standard infection control precautions strictly, this will minimise infection spread and improve infection control. Hospitals can also look to move to more innovative non-contact devices. If you remove contact, you remove infection risk.
All guidance should be adhered to in regards to infection control precautions to offer a holistic approach. Hospitals can take extra steps to further mitigate infection by looking at cleaning protocols for NCMEs and innovative technology which removes contact with the patient such as the TRITEMP™ non-contact thermometer
To find out more about TRITEMP™, email firstname.lastname@example.org