Things You Can Do To Prevent Hospital Acquired Infections

Hospital acquired infections are dangerous and costly to consumers. You go to the hospital, you pay your money and you get sicker than before you went in. That’s just not cool.

Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself from hospital acquired infections. Most of them require having the confidence to speak up.

From the Globe:

“Patients and their families have a role, too,” said former New York lieutenant governor Betsy McCaughey, chairwoman of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths. “But too often, patients and families are reluctant to speak up. If you’re worried about being too aggressive, just remember: Your life is at stake.”

So how can you be an effective advocate for yourself or your relative?

It can mean paying attention to everything from when to get antibiotics before surgery (no sooner than an hour before), to the angle of the bed for a ventilator patient (30 degrees), to asking whether all those tubes are really needed (they may not be).

But doing that can require courage — and persistence. Dr. Denise M. Cardo, the top specialist on hospital-acquired infections at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention compared it with her own experience with car mechanics.

“I decided, because they messed up so many times, that I’m questioning everything,” Cardo said. “What we want is a healthcare environment where people feel fine doing that, where they feel empowered to say, ‘OK, why do I need that?’ “

It may seem rude, but hospital acquired infections do happen and you have the right to speak up. For 15 things you can do to help avoid getting an infection, click here.

Patient, protect thyself [Boston Globe via WSJ Health Blog]