Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs, also known as nosocomial infections or hospital acquired infections) are infections acquired by patients during their hospital stay for other conditions. They include:
- infections caused by Clostridium difficile (CDI), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE), and other bacteria and viruses encountered in healthcare facilities
- infections associated with the devices used in medical procedures (such as catheters or ventilators)
- infections occurred at surgery sites (surgical site infections).
HAIs can occur in any setting of care, including hospital acute care units, same-day surgical centers, ambulatory outpatient care clinics, and long-term care facilities such as nursing homes and rehabilitation centres.
HAIs are a major patient safety issue and economic burden for the healthcare system. In Canada, one in every nine hospital patients contracts a healthcare-associated infection. It is estimated that each year in Canada, there are more than 220,000 cases of HAI in our hospitals, resulting in at least 8,000 deaths. Surveillance is a critical component of HAI prevention and control programs. PICNet works with infection prevention and control professionals in Health Authority and care facilities to monitor the incidences of HAI and prevent these infections.