Longer hospital stays increase chances of infection

The longer a patient stays in the hospital the chances of him or her acquiring an infection, having an adverse drug reaction, or developing a pressure ulcer go up, according to a new study to be published in the Medical Care journal. What's more, one in five patients who are hospitalized for a week acquire an infection during their stay, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

Researchers at the Monash University and Imperial College London found that patients who stayed at the hospital had the following risks for infection, adverse drug reactions, and pressure ulcers.

Number of nights in hospital

Risk of infection

Risk of adverse drug reaction

Risk of pressure ulcer

1

11.1%

3.4%

0.4%

5

17.6%

5.5%

3.1%

7

20% (appx.)

6.1%

2.5%


On average, every night a patient stays in the hospital increases his or her chance of infection by 1.6 percent, adverse drug reaction by 0.5 percent (because of errors or unknown allergy), and pressure ulcer by 0.5 percent (from not being moved enough).

The infections are usually a result of non-sterile equipment, catheter mistakes, or urinary tract infections, according to lead author Dr. Katharina Hauck of Imperial College London. Hauck recommended that hospitals consider early discharge and home-based programs.

A GE report last month found that healthcare-acquired infections are the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S., affecting one in 20 patients, that is, 1.7 million inpatients each year. The report called for hospitals to invest in technology and strong leadership practices.

For more:
- read the Sydney Morning Herald article

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