The HAI problem
99,000 people die.
– U.S. Centers for Disease Control
Healthcare Associated Infections, or HAIs, are caused by patient exposure to any of a number of dangerous pathogens that can be passed by direct hand contact or by high-touch room surfaces, like bed rails, faucet handles, door knobs, telephone handsets and TV remote controls.
Patients who catch HAIs are often the most vulnerable, very ill or elderly, with little ability to fight off these resilient infections. Some strains have become resistant to antibiotics, making them particularly dangerous.
HAIs infect 5 to 10 percent of hospitalized patients and cost hospitals an average of $15,000 per incident and nationally more than $25 billion per year in additional, extraordinary expenses for readmission or elongated hospital stays. Additionally, HAIs put hospital staff at risk and increase labor expenses for paid sick time.
Some of the more common and dangerous HAIs include:
- Clostridium difficile (C. diff) – in 2011, responsible for half a million infections, with 29,000 people dying within 30 days of the initial diagnosis
- Methicillin-resistant Staphyloccocus aureus (MRSA) – can cause severe problems such as bloodstream infections, pneumonia and surgical site infections.
- Vancomycin-resistant Enterococci (VRE) – most commonly transmitted person-to-person through hand contact or by touching infected surfaces, VRE usually infects hospitalized patients who have received antibiotic treatment for long periods of time or who have weakened immune systems or have undergone surgical procedures.
- Acinetobacter baumannii (A. baumannii) – typically infects people who have weakened immune systems, chronic lung disease, or diabetes. Hospitalized patients, especially very ill patients on a ventilator, those with a prolonged hospital stay, those who have open wounds, or any person with invasive devices like urinary catheters are also at greater risk for Acinetobacter infection.
Nearly 20% of pathogens reported from all HAIs in 2009-2010 were multidrug-resistant organisms. – National Healthcare Safety Network
Manual Cleaning Not the Complete Answer
Manual terminal cleaning has been proven to be only partially effective in neutralizing harmful HAI-causing pathogens, according to The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America.
- Only 34% of high-touch surfaces are cleaned (terminal clean)
- After cleaning, 71% of VRE and 78% of C. diff infected rooms still tested positive
- Even after four rounds of disinfection with bleach, 25% of rooms were still contaminated with MRSA and Acinetobacter baumanii.
UV-C Disinfection Far More Effective
UV light disinfection robots, like those manufactured by Infection Prevention Technologies, attack HAI-causing pathogens with germ-killing radiation, offering fast, effective whole-room treatment of all direct, indirect and shadow areas, including high-touch surfaces that often are missed in terminal cleaning.
Read reports about the effectiveness of UV-C disinfection:
- Study Finds Ultraviolet Cleaning Reduces Hospital Superbugs by 20 Percent, Infection Control Today, May 28, 2014
- Study Shows Effectiveness of Ultraviolet Light in Hospital Infection Control, Infection Control Today, Oct. 25, 2012