Healthcare-Associated Infections

Housekeeping staff cleaning hospital room.

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 those who are immunocompromised. 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:

In This Section

Vermont aims to reduce the transmission of multidrug-resistant organisms between healthcare facilities.

Staphylococcus aureus, also known as staph, is a very common bacterium that can live on the skin or in the noses of healthy people.

Patients with compromised immune systems are at a much higher risk for a CRE infection.

The elderly and people who require long term use of antibiotics are at a higher risk of becoming infected with C. difficile

Antibiotics are drugs that kill bacteria, they do not fight viral infections like the common cold and the flu.

Unsafe injection practices can be a serious threat to a patient’s health.