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Hospital-Acquired Infections

A healthcare-associated infection (HAI) is an infection that may occasionally occur as a result of your treatment or stay in the hospital. Surgical site infections, catheter-associated bloodstream infections, catheter-associated urinary tract infections and ventilator-associated pneumonia (an infection of the lungs) are some types of HAI.  Some people, particularly the very young or elderly, may be more at risk for an infection related to an operation, suffering from an underlying disease, or undergoing certain types of treatments.  HAIs can be caused by many organisms including some that are multi-drug resistant like Methicillin Staphylococcus Aureaus (MRSA).

What does your healthcare team do to prevent HAIs?  We use evidence-based infection prevention and control guidelines that are proven to reduce and prevent infections.  Hand hygiene is the single most important means of preventing the spread of infection. Below are some of the ways we help:

  • CMH has hand sanitizers inside and/or outside all patient rooms.  We teach staff, patients and visitors that washing your hands is the #1 way to prevent infection.
  • Equipment, instruments and surfaces are thoroughly cleaned after each use.
  • Each patient room and bathroom is cleaned daily and between patients. Surfaces are disinfected with a special solution, proven to kill germs.
  • Patients who have known or suspected infections may be placed on isolation. This is important in stopping the spread of infection. Special clothing is worn by staff and visitors when they enter the room to prevent the transmission of infection.
  • Patients may be given antibiotics before surgery.
  • Medication and IV fluids are handled very carefully.
  • Special care is given to patients that have a urinary catheter. We will help you to make sure the tubing is not kinked and the bag stays lower than your bladder.

What can you do to help prevent HAIs?

  • Ask your visitors to clean their hands when entering and leaving your room.
  • Feel free to ask our staff if we have washed our hands before procedures.
  • If you have a bandage or catheter, keep the skin around it clean and dry. Tell your nurse or doctor if the bandage becomes loose, dislodged, wet or dirty.  Tell your nurse or doctor if the area around your urinary catheter or around your IV is painful, swollen or red.
  • Ask family or other visitors to stay home if they are sick. 
  • Make sure you understand your instructions about caring for your surgical site before you go home.
  • Quit smoking. Patients who smoke get more infections than those who don’t. If you are interested, ask your nurse or doctor to give you more information on how
     to quit.


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