The Cost of Healthcare-Associated Infections
Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are a common problem in healthcare facilities across North America and the rest of the world. In the US, one in thirty-one patients will contract an HAI1 and as many as one in nine patients will contract an HAI in Canada2.
HAIs have many consequences, including prolonged hospital stays, medical complications, and even death3. Intuitively, healthcare facilities should proactively work with infection prevention experts to mitigate the spread of HAIs within their facilities4.
HAIs can also have a profound impact on the financial well-being of healthcare facilities. On a national scale, HAIs cost the US healthcare system $14.9 billion USD in 20165, and a 2017 study found that a single HAI will cost a healthcare facility up to $25,546 USD6. While there are many factors that impact the cost of an HAI, the message is clear – HAIs have a profound impact on the well-being of patients, staff, and the healthcare system.
HAIs and Surface Damage
There are many sources that can transmit infections in the healthcare environment4; however, experts agree that most HAIs are preventable4. With increased awareness and updated protocols, healthcare facilities can reduce the spread of infection4.
One way healthcare facilities can do this is by effectively maintaining one of the greatest touchpoints in the healthcare environment – hospital beds. Research has demonstrated that damaged hospital mattresses can harbor bodily fluids and other pathogens that put patients and staff at an increased risk of infection7. While small tears or punctures in a mattress may seem insignificant, damaged surfaces cannot be effectively cleaned. When bodily fluids or other pathogens penetrate the mattress core, the entire mattress is no longer safe to use7, but without a proper mattress inspection and maintenance program, damage is difficult to detect.
Implementing a thorough mattress inspection and maintenance program allows healthcare facilities to detect damage early and pursue the appropriate steps to resolve the problem. Depending on the nature and extent of the damage, patient surfaces may be suitable for repair with CleanPatch, an FDA-registered and TJC-compliant repair technology for medical surfaces. Surface repair allows healthcare facilities to extend the service life of their equipment while also returning the surface to an intact and fully cleanable state. If the damage is extensive, the patient surface may need to be replaced. An inspection and maintenance program provides many benefits, including the proactive detection of damage, cost-savings, and most importantly, enhanced patient and staff safety7.
Taking proactive steps to reduce the likelihood of transmission benefits the healthcare system in many ways. If you have any questions regarding mattress maintenance and inspection or would like to learn more about how you can implement surface repair at your facility, please contact us at email@example.com or visit www.cleanpatch.ca/training.
1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, November 3). Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/hai/data/portal/index.html
2Hicks, D. (2023, February 23). The importance of robust cleaning in patient care. Health Europa. https://www.healtheuropa.com/the-importance-of-robust-cleaning-in-patient-care/121443/
3Benenson, S., Cohen, M., Schwartz, C., Revva, M., Moses, A., & Levin, P. (2020). Is it financially beneficial for hospitals to prevent nosocomial infections? BMC Health Services Research, 20(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-020-05428-7
4Stone, P. W. (2009). Economic burden of healthcare-associated infections: An American perspective. Expert Review of Pharmacoeconomics & Outcomes Research, 9(5), 417–422. https://doi.org/10.1586/erp.09.53
5Forrester, J., Maggio, P., & Tennakoon, L. (2021). Cost of health care–associated infections in the United States. Journal of Patient Safety, 18(2). https://doi.org/10.1097/pts.0000000000000845
6Berríos-Torres, S., Umscheid, C., Bratzler, D., …, & Schecter, W. (2017). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guideline for the prevention of surgical site infection, 2017. JAMA Surgery, 152(8), 784. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamasurg.2017.0904
7Wong, H., De Grood, J., Louie, R., Ward, L., Pearce, C., & Louie, T. (2015). Comparison of terminal cleaning of a medical surface repair patch on hospital mattresses. Canadian Journal of Infection Control, 30(3), 165-170. https://cleanpatch.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Surface-Medical-Publication-in-Canadian-Journal-of-Infection-Control-Fall-2015.pdf