Hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) are significant causes of mortality and illnesses globally among patients receiving healthcare services. HAIs are associated with the delivery of healthcare as opposed to infections present during care delivery. Kakkar, Bala, and Arora (2021) define HAI as a localized or generalized infection a patient acquires in a healthcare setting after admission for other illnesses, excluding that infection. The study by Kakkar et al. (2021) also establishes that HAIs include infections that manifest in patients 48 hours after admission, 72 hours after discharge and 30 days after surgery. HAIs contribute to functional impairment, emotional stress, health complications, prolonged hospital stay, increased economic burden, and reduced quality of life. Lack of adherence to the recommended infection prevention and control guidelines by healthcare workers is among the main reasons for the spread of infections. Pathogens are transmitted across patients when healthcare providers don’t follow infection prevention and control procedures. Even the spread of drug-resistant (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, MRSA) infections has not compelled health providers to establish a culture of implementing the recommended infection prevention and control practices. Drug resistant infections can be fatal but preventable. I believe that continuous medical education of healthcare providers is vital to mitigating the prevalence of HAIs, in the hospital.
There’s adequate evidence suggesting the burden of HAIs. For instance, a study in England conducted at National Health Service hospitals revealed that nearly 0.32 million patients contract at least one HAI annually, compounding the burden of 930.62 million pounds annually (Kakkar et al., 2021). Additionally, Khan, Baig, and Mehboob (2017) state that HAIs consist of 7% of developed and 10% of infections in developing nations. The article estimates that 15% of all hospitalized patients globally suffer from HAIs (Khan et al., 2017). Kakkar et al. (2021) attribute significant illnesses and roughly 80,000 annual deaths to HAIs. These statistics underscore the need to address the spread of nosocomial infections urgently. While there are numerous guidelines proven to be effective in the prevention and control of HAIs, lack of compliance with those guidelines renders them useless. Therefore, education of healthcare providers on adherence to the standards of practice is critical to the effective implementation of infection prevention and control strategies.
One of the determinants contributing to a high prevalence of HAIs is unawareness. A study by Khan et al. (2017) states that a survey revealed insufficient knowledge among healthcare providers regarding the use of injection techniques, basic infection control measures, the correct use of invasive devices such as catheters, and control policies. In developing countries, increased HAIs are attributed to poverty, inadequate financial support, insufficient healthcare workers, and lack of enough personal protective equipment. Continuous medical education in these fields is critical to enhancing healthcare workers’ knowledge, leading to better patient care after discovering new viable ways for preventing and controlling infection.
Despite the availability of guidelines for effective evidence-based practices for infection prevention and control, there is limited implementation of the interventions. The leading portal of transmission of HAIs is the healthcare staff, especially nurses, as they are the biggest group in the healthcare system. They give healthcare services and work closely with patients seven days a week. According to Monegro, Muppidi, and Regunath (2020), nurses aim to provide quality nursing care relating to health promotion, prevention, and treatment of various illnesses in the hospital and the community. As such, they are the foundations of quality improvement programs since they keep track of all healthcare activities. Nurses in different departments play a significant role in preventing HAIs.
Healthcare professionals are responsible for controlling the spread of infections in the hospital. Personal hygiene remains the key infection prevention and control strategy. According to Khan et al. (2017), decontamination of hands using standard hand disinfectants after and before contact with a patient. Additionally, the study recommends the use of safe injection practices and sterilized equipment. Lastly, the study recommends the use of personal protective equipment during healthcare delivery. Regular staff health education significantly reduces the risks linked to the spread of pathogens. Regular training and education is unquestionably one of the surest ways to prevent medical issues. Constant education ensures high levels of staff adherence to practice guideline requirements. Sufficient evidence reveals that specialized departmental training and education is key to achieving a greater quality of patient care and satisfaction.
To conclude, the discussion highlights the importance of continuous training and health education in the management of HAIs. The lack of awareness of the technicalities of particular healthcare delivery practices has been associated with increased drug-resistant HAIs. Continuous education reinforces guideline practices’ implementation while reducing the risk of spreading HAIs. Since healthcare workers are the main channel of transmission, I find it reasonable to ensure that they practice the correct standard infection prevention and control practices through continuous education and training.
Kakkar, S. K., Bala, M., & Arora, V. (2021). Educating nursing staff regarding infection control practices and assessing its impact on the incidence of hospital-acquired infections. Journal of Education and Health Promotion, 10.
Khan, H. A., Baig, F. K., & Mehboob, R. (2017). Nosocomial infections: Epidemiology, prevention, control and surveillance. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, 7(5), 478-482.
Monegro, A. F., Muppidi, V., & Regunath, H. (2020). Hospital acquired infections. In StatPearls [Internet]. StatPearls Publishing.
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