Surveillance of Healthcare-Associated Infections
Published: 28 July 2020
Published: 28 July 2020
These infections, which can occur in any healthcare setting, cause unnecessary pain and suffering for the patient, prolong hospital stays and add to the cost of care (ACSQHC 2019).
However, through HAI surveillance, approximately one-third of these cases can be prevented (VICNISS 2020).
The term healthcare-associated infection (HAI) refers to any infection acquired as a result of healthcare, either directly or indirectly (ACSQHC 2019).
HAIs may be caused by a variety of pathogens, some of which are multi-resistant organisms (MROs) that are especially difficult to identify and treat (NSW DoH 2017).
Generally, the most common HAIs are those related to surgical or invasive procedures. These include:
HAI Surveillance is the practice of monitoring and reporting HAI incidents. Surveillance allows health service organisations to evaluate current practice, observe outcomes, deliver feedback to staff and implement HAI prevention strategies as required. The aim is to improve clinical practice and consequently, patient outcomes (VICNISS 2020; ACSQHC 2019).
Using infection rate data, organisations can assess the effectiveness of any strategies they have implemented. Once data has been collected, it can be delivered to the appropriate personnel and used to inform the development of future policies, procedures and protocols (VICNISS 2020; ACSQHC 2019).
Surveillance can help organisations determine:
The importance of HAI surveillance can be summarised by these three key points:
(Russo et. al 2018)
HAI surveillance is outlined in Action 3.4 of the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards, under Standard 3: Preventing and Controlling Healthcare-Associated Infection.
The aim of this action is for organisations to seek out data that will help them prevent HAIs and practice antimicrobial stewardship. Providers are required to develop surveillance strategies that:
Health service organisations may use surveillance to monitor:
(ACSQHC 2019; VICNISS 2020)
In order for surveillance to work effectively, organisations should:
(VIC DoH 2015)
Healthcare-associated infections are common and often have adverse consequences for clients.
However, surveillance allows health service organisations to gather data that can then be used to establish and monitor interventions to reduce the prevalence of HAIs.
Question 1 of 3
How many cases of healthcare-associated infection are there in Australia every year?
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