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Monday, December 22, 2008

Hospital Stays are 5x higher When No Hand Hygiene Program exists

While everyone is busy slashing budgets, below is an extract from a paper published by Sort of eye-opening, and another reminder that a mere $1000 in "spending costs" on certain products and approaches can save literally millions of dollars, and countless lives.

We heard about a hospital in Rhode Island that actually cut back on spending to refill soap dispensers in public areas. We didn't believe it, so we visited the hospital last month. Half of the soap dispensers were actually empty.

Aside, when it comes to the topic of hand sanitizers, we keep hearing from 'experts' that rest their laurels on the CDC's 'hand hygiene white paper', the one that was originally published in 1996 and "recommends" alcohol-based gels when washing with soap and water isn't convenient.

"..That's simply not true..", according to senior spokesperson Kathleen Stewart . She says "the CDC only recommends washing with with soap (non-antimicrobial) and water. We defer to people to do their own research when it comes to hand sanitizer products and formulas.."

Exactly why the experts that are getting up to speed are concluding that alcohol-free alternatives actually exist (just one example is "Hy5", they're actually just as effective when considering the wide spectrum of pathogens, they're safer to the skin, and in point of fact are 2x-3x more cost effective when compared to legacy alcohol-based gels.

Cost of Healthcare Associated Infections

In the state of Pennsylvania, the number of healthcare associated infections increased 58% to 30,237 reported cases in 2006 compared to 19,154 cases in 2005. Looking at the data, the mortality rate of patients who acquired HAIs was 6 times higher than patients without HAIs. We recognize that the cost of human life is high, but the study goes beyond and calculates the operational costs of the healthcare facilities.

On average, the hospital charge for admitted patients without HAIs was $33,260. In contrast, the average hospital charge for admitted patient with HAIs was $175,964. In addition, the average length of stay in hospital while the patient was admitted was higher by 5 times the amount in patients with HAIs. The findings of this study draw the conclusion that HAIs are responsible for a large chunk of health care costs. Experts agree that the single most effective measure for combating HAIs in hospitals is improving hand hygiene which leads to a reduction in the high costs of health care.

The incremental operating cost of a healthcare associated infection is calculated at thousands of dollars. If a hand hygiene campaign is able to prevent one HAI, the efforts will not have been for naught. Experts from CDC and APIC speak with unison regarding the need to improve hand hygiene around the world. Preventing healthcare-associated infections is the best way of attacking the HAI problem and good hand hygiene is recognized as the single most effective method of preventing HAIs

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