According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hospital acquired infections are causing more than 2 million illnesses and at least 23,000 deaths annually.
A new study found over a quarter of instances of bacteria being spread in the hospitals were caused by nursing and medical staff. Keeping this in mind, News 8 asked what local hospitals are doing to prevent the spread of superbugs.
Dr. Mark Shelly, Director of the Infectious Disease Unit at Highland Hospital, says that washing your hands is essential, but that’s not always enough.
“It turns out when you walk in a room it’s not so much touching a patient its touching the bed rails the objects around the patient, the supply cart that may in fact also have organisms on it,” said Dr. Mark Shelly.
Although the study did not conclude that the bacteria is spread directly from the nurse to the patient, it did show that the bacteria is spread from the patient to the nurse, the patient to the environment, and the environment to the patient.
That being said, the nurse can get the bacteria from the patient and transfer to another patient’s room, where a patent can then get it from the environment.
But doctors are aware of this so they do take special precautions.
“When there are special organisms, then we’ll put them on contact precautions. That means we’re putting a gown and gloves on even when we’re not doing anything where we expect to get in to the wet or grossly infected stuff,” said Dr. Mark Shelly.
Authors of the study suggest the isolation method, using disposable gloves and gowns when treating patients, has been shown to be effective in reducing transmission in outbreak settings, when removed properly. Doctors at Highland Hospital agree.