Hospital infections are infectious diseases acquired in hospitals or healthcare settings (nursing homes, long-term hospitalizations, etc.).
To be defined nosocomial or hospital infections, the patient must have been hospitalized for a cause other than infection and must not have any signs of infectious disease in the course of incubation at the time of admission
These infections can occur
- 48 hours after hospital admission
- Up to 3 days after discharge
- Up to 30 days after an operation
In healthcare settings (long-term clinics, RSA, etc.) where the patient is hospitalized for reasons other than the infectious cause
TYPES OF HOSPITAL INFECTIONS
The most frequent nosocomial infection is that of the urinary tract, followed by infections of the surgical wound, infection of the venous access (point where the needle is inserted to administer intravenous therapies), pneumonia (WHO 2012).
The site where the infection occurs depends on the medical procedures the patient undergoes. The insertion of the bladder catheter exposes you to the risk of urinary tract infection.
The insertion of venous accesses to administer intravenous therapies exposes the needle entry site to the risk of infection with the possibility that pathogens can invade the blood stream.
Respirators, to allow artificial respiration in patients admitted to intensive care units, exposes them to the risk of respiratory tract and lung infection. Surgical operations expose you to the risk of infections of the surgically treated organ and, more often, of the surgical wound.
WHAT CAUSES NOSOCOMIAL INFECTIONS
Hospital infections are caused by pathogens that are easily transmitted by the healthcare worker to the patient. Often hospitalized patients have a reduced efficiency of the immune system, therefore they are more susceptible to infections. Often the long hospitalization for chronic debilitating diseases, the malnutrition of the patient expose to a greater risk of infection
The risk factors for the acquisition of a hospital infection are:
- The length of hospitalization
- The use of antibiotics in an inappropriate way
- The use of invasive instruments
All hospitalized patients are potentially at risk for acquiring a hospital infection, but those hospitalized in intensive care units have the highest risk
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS
These are symptoms closely related to the site of the infection.
Urinary difficulties and urinary tract dysuria; it is possible to find blood and mucus in the urine and in the catheter, if present.
- Fever and general malaise can accompany systemic infections
- Breathing difficulties and coughs may be present in case of respiratory tract infections.
Pain, presence of pus at the level of the wounds in case of infection of the surgical wound or at the level of the needle insertion.
HOW TO IDENTIFY THEM
The surveillance of hospital infections must be constant, on the appearance of suspicious signs and symptoms it is necessary to intervene with the search for the site of the infection, establish the cause and remove the suspicious devices.
It is necessary to establish as precisely as possible which pathogen is involved in the infection.
To do this, it is necessary to proceed with the cultural investigations of blood, urine, phlegm, secretions of the wounds. Samples of these liquids are sent to the laboratory to search for bacteria and above all to identify their sensitivity to antibiotics.