Why Is Infection Control So Important In Hospitals?

What Is Infection Control (IC) ?

The CDC refers to infection control measures as the actions aimed at preventing or stopping the spread of infections within a healthcare setting1.

Infection prevention and control (IPC) poses a challenge to hospitals and healthcare worldwide. Nosocomial infections or Healthcare Acquired Infections (HCAIs) can be spread by contact in hospitals and result in a patient who is admitted for a specific healthcare action, catching a new or different infection during their stay. In fact, in a recent study by the lancet, 1 in 10 COVID infections in UK hospitals was acquired in hospital2.

To tackle this, every hospital has a set of standard infection control procedures. Without these procedures hospitals would struggle to stop infection spread. This illustrates the importance of infection control in hospitals, and the challenges that IPC teams may face.

IC is becoming increasingly important in recent times as there has been a rise in the number of Healthcare Acquired Infections. WHO estimates that 7% of all patients admitted into healthcare facilities will acquire at least 1 HAI3.

What Happens When Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Fails?

IPC teams do a great job globally at keeping infections at bay, however the challenge of infection spread is substantial and therefore difficult to conquer.

This was highlighted in the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. Despite the enforcement of standard infection control procedures between 2015 and 2017, a total of 70 ICU patients were found to have contracted Candida Auris, a potentially deadly fungal pathogen.

Following a DNA sequencing programme, the source of the outbreak was traced back to the disposable probe covers used on the axilla contact thermometer on the ward. Despite implementing increased cleaning measures, the infection continued to spread until the axilla thermometers were removed from the ward4.
Since then, John Radcliffe have switched to a non-contact thermometer – TRITEMP™.

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How To Improve Procedures

More than half of infections are considered preventable, through proper protocols4. The strict adoption of standard infection control procedures is a major factor, but there are other elements to improving IPC.


Adopting medical devices which actively limit infection spread is one way that hospitals could see an improvement in infection control.

TRITEMP™ is a medical grade non-contact thermometer that requires zero contact, therefore reducing the likelihood of cross-infection. For Infection Prevention and Control Teams the removal of unnecessary points of contact provides a significant reduction in probability of infection spread.

Due to the sheer volume of use of thermometers in hospitals, non-contact thermometers result in contact transmission being reduced significantly and positively impact infection prevention and control.
Changing from traditional methods of temperature measurement (such as tympanic, axilla and rectal) is essential to tackling infection spread, never more so than during the pandemic.

An average sized 900-bed hospital on average will take approximately 3 million temperature readings, that’s 3 million unnecessary contact points with the patient when using contact thermometers.

How important is infection control in nursing?

Infection Prevention and Control is paramount in nursing, it protects both patient and healthcare worker from disease. Without controlling the spread of infection, hospitals would become unsafe to go to or visit which would create huge healthcare problems across society.

What is the most important procedure in the hospital?

There are many standard infection control procedures (SICPs) in hospitals, ranging from basic hand hygiene to safe management and sterilisation of equipment and adopting medical devices which reduce the likelihood of infection spread.

Ask Our Experts

Why is Infection Control Important in Clinical Settings ?

One in eight hospital acquired infections is caused via contact. So anything we can do to cut down the amount of contact between the patient the carer, and the actual medical device itself will have a major implication on reducing the number of hospital acquired infections. That also has major cost saving implications because treating hospital acquired infections is very costly. So not only are we helping to fight infection, we’re also helping to keep costs down within the healthcare system.

Roy Neill, International Sales Manager

References

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/infectioncontrol/index.html#:~:text=Infection%20control%20prevents%20or%20stops,by%20type%20of%20healthcare%20setting.
  2. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(21)01786-4/fulltext
  3. https://www.who.int/gpsc/country_work/gpsc_ccisc_fact_sheet_en.pdf
  4. https://www.nejm.org/doi/10.1056/NEJMoa1714373
  5. Study: More Than Half of Hospital Infections Could Be Prevented With Proper Protocols – Patient Safety & Quality Healthcare
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