Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Welcome to Seal Shield’s 'Infection Control Corner'


Seal Shield’s web site serves as a resource for infection-prevention and -control efforts, and the new blog is another component, or facet, of those efforts. Seal Shield’s mission is to thwart cross-contamination in the healthcare setting, at work, and at home through innovative technology.

Cross-contamination is a serious threat and can create life-threatening situations, as demonstrated in a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention www.cdc.gov/HAI/surveillance/. The report breaks it down to approximately 1 in 25 hospital patients, on any given day, having at least 1 healthcare-associated infection (HAI). This survey cites more numbers to strike fear in one’s heart, because we and our loved ones all will enter a medical facility at some point in our lives. The CDC survey found an estimated 722,000 HAIs in U.S acute-care hospitals in 2011. Often we think of HAIs in connection with the immunocompromised patient, those who are already seriously ill and thus are easy prey for pathogens; however, of the approximately 75,000 hospital patients with HAIs who died during their hospitalizations, more than half of those HAIs occurred outside of the intensive care unit.

Those aren’t just dry, boring numbers; they represent people. They are people who once led productive lives. They are people who were at the center of their loved ones’ personal world. They are people who suffered, and people who died. Worse yet, it didn’t have to happen. They are people who died from an illness that was preventable. Maybe someone you know, someone you loved, is counted in those reports. 

Progress in thwarting infection is being made, no doubt largely due to changes in reimbursement practices by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, with private insurance companies following suit. Progress in reducing infection is also due to more technological advances from companies like Seal Shield who have declared war on infection. But that’s another blog altogether.

The CDC’s “National and State Healthcare-Associated Infections Progress Report” is an annual report that looks at HAIs most commonly reported to CDC, using the nation’s most widely used HAI tracking system, the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN). This annual report, based on 2013 data, describes national and state progress in preventing central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI), catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI), select surgical-site infections (SSI), hospital-onset Clostridium difficile infections, and hospital-onset methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteremia (bloodstream infections).

On the national level, the report found an impressive 46% decrease in CLABSI between 2008 and 2013; a 19% decrease in SSIs related to the 10 select procedures tracked in the report between 2008 and 2013; an 8% decrease in hospital-onset MRSA bacteremia between 2011 and 2013; and a 10% decrease in hospital-onset C difficile infections between 2011 and 2013. Curiously, the report also showed a 6% increase in CAUTI between 2009 and 2013, although initial data from 2014 seem to indicate that these infections are now decreasing, too.

Some of the percentages of decrease from this report may seem small, but, rest assured, it would seem monumental if you were the one who avoided contracting the HAI during your hospital stay. Even small increases are significant when it comes to saving lives.

Thank you for visiting our first Infection Control Corner blog. Please join us again soon. A few times each month, we will continue to explore other infection-prevention and control‒related issues, such as the effect that payment penalties has had on hospitals, antibiotic resistance, new technologies designed to battle pathogens, and more. Next up, we will take a look at how infection control has evolved in recent history.


Susan Cantrell, ELS 
Infection Control Corner
Contributor Writer