Healthcare Infections & Sepsis

To frame the issue of healthcare-associated infections, we've taken a quote from the US Government's Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion :

'Health care-associated infections (HAIs) are infections people get while they're receiving health care for another condition. HAIs can happen in any health care facility, including hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, end-stage renal disease facilities, and long-term care facilities. Bacteria, fungi, viruses, or other, less common pathogens can cause HAIs.'

It's important to know that most HAIs are preventable and many healthcare organizations are working together as part of the National Action Plan to reduce patient harm from these infections. Below are resources that can help you get an idea of what New Hampshire is doing to track and prevent these infections.  

The important thing is to raise this topic with your healthcare provider, especially if you will be hospitalized or having a procedure, testing, or surgery.  Ask them what they do to reduce the risk of HAIs.  Also discuss getting the right strength of antibiotic for the right illness for the right length of time. Over-prescribing of antibiotics contributes to the problem of more resistant infections that are harder to treat.

Common Terms:

HAI = Healthcare Associated Infection
Antibiotic Stewardship (AS) = An effort or program to measure and improve how antibiotics are prescribed with the goal of reducing resistant & hard-to-treat bacterial infections.  Most hospitals have an AS program. Learn more here from the CDC.
Antibiotic Resistance (AR) = When infections become very hard to treat with antibiotic medications. Learn more here
Common Types of Bacteria that cause HAIs = There are many! Learn the names here.
Sepsis = A life-threatening condition that is caused by an infection that progresses and spreads in the body. Sepsis is a leading cause of death in American hospitals.  Learn what sepsis is and what's being done to prevent and treat it here on the CDC's website and at The Sepsis Alliance.
C. diff = Clostridium difficile infection (pronounced klos-TRID-e-uhm dif-uh-SEEL) is a spore-forming bacterium or germ. It can be caused by antibiotics & results in severe diarrhea. It is a rising cause of death in people over age 65.  It can also be spread in healthcare facilities. Learn more here at The Peggy Lillis Foundation

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Resources

New Hampshire Resources

CDC's  State-Based HAI Prevention Activities
Learn what New Hampshire and other states are doing to prevent HAI's by clicking their interactive map.

NH Healthcare Associated Infection Program
From the NH Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS), Bureau of Infectious Disease Control. Find HAI hospital reports, patient education and contact information for questions.

NH Hospital and Ambulatory Surgical Center Infection Reports 
Scroll down the page to see hospital & ASC reports.

National Resources

CDC's  Healthcare Infections Page

CDC's Dental Infection Resources  

CDC's  State-Based HAI Prevention Activities
Learn what New Hampshire and other states are doing to prevent HAI's by clicking their interactive map.

CDC's Patient Safety Atlas
A web application that contains interactive sets of data on HAIs, Antibiotic Resistance, Antibiotic Stewardship & Antibioitic Prescribing in the outpatient setting. The data is from hospitals, rehabilitation hospitals and long term care facilities. 

The Peggy Lillis Foundation
A non profit advocacy organization started by two sons who lost their young mother to a C. diff infection. Many resources for patients, families and anyone who wishes to advocate for Cdiff awareness, prevention and treatment. 

The Sepsis Alliance
The leading sepsis organization in the U.S. working in all 50 states to save lives and reduce suffering from sepsis. Started by a loving father & dentist who lost his young adult daughter to sepsis after a minor surgical procedure. Many resources for patients & famlies.

 

 

 Tips & Tools

 

The ABC's of Antibiotics
A tip sheet for patients from APIC on how to talk with your provider about safe & appropriate antibiotic prescribing.

Antimicrobial Resistance & HAI Prevention for Patients
From the NH Dept. of Health, Infectious Disease Division

C diff Resources for Patient & Famlies
From the Peggy Lillis Foundation

Infection Prevention And You
From APIC (Association of Professionals in Infection Control).

Safe Injection Information For Patients
From the CDC. Information on preventing bloodborne diseases like Hepatitis through safe needle and injection practices.

Speak Up For Your Care
Know the questions to ask to help prevent infections during your hospital stay. From APIC

What is MRSA?
From the CDC. Resources on Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Information for patients, families, athletes, daycare providers, coaches, schools and other community groups.

What You Can Do To Be a Safe Patient
From the CDC.

What Are Healthcare Associated Infections?
From APIC. Different types of procedures that can cause HAIs.

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