Overcrowded Emergency Departments May Increase Hospital-Acquired Infection Risks

 It is reported to be the largest study into the infection risks in hospital emergency rooms in the country.  The study published in the November Issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, provides Hawaii medical malpractice lawyers some of the predictors of poor hand hygiene compliance in emergency rooms.

The study analyzed more than 5,800 emergency room patient encounters.  Overall, the study found that proper hand washing practices were used 90% of the time.  However, there were reasons to be concerned too.

Considering the overcrowding of the average hospital emergency department in Hawaii, it’s not so surprising to Hawaii medical malpractice lawyers that infection risks remain so high.   The study offers some pointers about the reasons for those risks.  For instance, the study points out that a hospital worker attending to a patient in a hallway bed is less likely to comply with hand hygiene rules. 

Additionally, some workers may not benefit from sufficient hand hygiene education.  For instance, workers in charge of taking patients from emergency departments to their rooms or to other departments elsewhere in the facility may not be given as much training as other workers.  These workers are much more likely to neglect hand washing practices. The research also found that many hospital emergency department workers prefer to wear gloves while they attend to patients, which doesn’t really reduce infection risks.

Something as simple as washing of hands before and after checking on a patient could substantially reduce the number of hospital-acquired infection rates in the country.  This is one of the reasons why health care agencies and the federal administration have stressed heavily on the reduction of infections, by increasing hand hygiene compliance rates.  Hospitals around the country have been experimenting with a number of systems to increase hand washing compliance, including the use of cameras and monitors to check on personnel’s hand washing practices.

Posted in Medical Malpractice

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