Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are infections acquired during the course of receiving medical care. Patients can get HAI from routine care, from surgery, as a complication from the use of medical devices, or from the overuse of antibiotics. Some of these germs do not respond to drugs such as antibiotics making them dangerous for all people, but especially for those undergoing medical treatment.
To protect patients, more work needs to be done. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends three strategies that health care providers should take with every patient, every time, to prevent HAIs and stop the spread of antibiotic resistance:
- Prevent the spread of bacteria between patients.
- Prevent infections related to surgery and/or catheters.
- Improve antibiotic use.
The good news is that CDC has identified HAIs as a Winnable Battle – a public health priority with large-scale impacts on health and known effective strategies to address it.
Preventing Healthcare-associated infections in Vermont
The Department of Health has a state HAI Plan to guide HAI prevention efforts. These include:
- Monitoring our state’s progress in preventing infections through Hospital Report Cards and CDC reports.
- Improving antibiotic use by supporting efforts to ensure that patients get the right antibiotic at the right time for the correct dose and duration.
- Coordinating the statewide Multidrug-resistant Organism (MDRO) Collaborative to prevent multidrug-resistant infections in health care settings.