According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), infections patients can acquire while receiving medical treatment in a healthcare facility, are a major, yet often preventable, threat to patient safety. Some of these infections do not respond to drugs such as antibiotics, making them dangerous for all people, but especially for people with weakened immune systems. Together with health care and public health partners, the Vermont Department of Health and the CDC are working to bring increased attention to prevention of HAIs.
To protect patients, more work needs to be done. The 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 and other microorganisms (viruses, fungi) between patients.
- Prevent infections related to surgery and/or catheters.
- Improve antibiotic use.
The good news is that CDC has identified prevention of HAIs as winnable battles – a public health priority with large-scale effects 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 Collaborative to Prevent Healthcare-Associated Infections and Antimicrobial Resistance (C-PHAR) to prevent multidrug-resistant infections in health care settings.