Healthcare-associated infections add 19 days to stay

Hospitals that are private/for-profit, have at least 500 beds, or those in metropolitan areas are more likely to see patients with healthcare-associated infections than other hospitals, according to a statistical brief recently released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

The brief reveals the characteristics of adult hospital stays with infections due to medical care in 2007. It is based on statistics from the 2007 Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a database of hospital inpatient stays that is nationally representative of inpatient stays in all short-term, non-federal hospitals.

More than 93 percent of stays with infections occurred at metropolitan hospitals, although they represent a smaller share of all other patient stays. Stays with infections were more likely to occur at private, for-profit and teaching hospitals than all other stays.

Healthcare-associated infections add an average of 19 days to a patient's hospital length (24 days vs. five days) and nearly $43,000 to the cost of the hospital stay.

The most common diagnoses for stays with infections due to medical care were septicemia (12 percent of infections had this principal diagnosis), adult respiratory failure (6 percent), and complications of surgical procedures or medical care (4 percent).

From 2004 to 2007 the infection rate was highest among adults ages 45 to 64 (2.58 per 1,000 in 2007) and lowest for those ages 18 to 44 (1.38 per 1,000).

For what AHRQ calls "infection stays," 54 percent of patients were admitted through the ED, 11 percent came from another hospital, and 3 percent came from another health facility, including long-term care facilities.

To learn more:
- read the statistical brief from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
- read the AHRQ press release

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