Caregiver Protection from Health-care Infections

Recent statistics have shown that more people die from health care facility infections than from cancer in certain areas of the country.  These numbers are heavily argued but anyone in senior care knows that many times a senior will be hospitalized and come home with an infection that causes even more problems.  My own uncle survived cancer surgery but took home an infection he picked up at the hospital which killed him.  When I owned a senior home care agency, one new client who had worked as a pharmacist made every person that entered his hospital room wash their hands before they came near him - he even made the doctors and nurses do this.

These healthcare-related infections are known in the industry as HAI's and they have rapidly grown in the last decade.  It is important for seniors and their caregivers to protect themselves properly from these infections.

What is a healthcare-associated infection (HAI)?
An infection developed at a hospital or nursing home that the patient did not have prior to treatment at the facility.  These infections impact both senior patients and their caregivers who sometimes become infected when caring for the senior after they have returned home from the hospital or care facility.

How frequent do HAI's occur?
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates 1.4 million people worldwide are suffering from HAI's at any one time.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that the number of U.S. deaths from HAI's are rapidly increasing at 100,000 per year. 

What can you do to prevent HAI's?
Monitor cleanliness:  as a caregiver be sure to wear gloves and wash your hands before and after meals and before touching a patient.  As a patient, be sure to wash your hands frequently and ask all care providers to wash their hands or to wear fresh gloves before providing hands-on care. 

"Not on my Watch" provides educational tools for healthcare professionals and families in an effort to help eliminate these preventable illnesses:  www.haiwatch.com

Learn about care techniques and find about more about certified nursing aide skills which assist in protecting both patients and caregivers.  Explore professional senior home care options which eliminate the exposure to hospital and nursing home infections.


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Comments (1) -

  • As if we needed another reason, this is why Home Health Care is really one of the best options for senior care. Given the frail immune systems of the elderly, it's surprising that there aren't more instances of HAIs (there are probably plenty more that are not reported.) Let's hope that proposed family financial assistance for home care passes so fewer will find themselves in this situation!

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