The National Audit Office noted in its 2000 report that nine percent of all inpatients or one in every eleven inpatients in England had hospital acquired infection at any one time. This prevalence is higher than hospital acquired infections in Denmark (8%), Spain (8%), Netherlands (7%), Norway (7%) and Australia (6%). Only France (6-10%) and USA (5-10%) had higher incidence ranges (CPSO, 2004; Davis, 2005; POST, 2005).
Furthermore, this figure is equivalent to approximately 100,000 hospital acquired infections per year. The effects of hospital acquired infections to patients range from minor discomfort to mortality in around 5,000 cases. These infections are considered as contributory factors to approximately 15,000 deaths a year (College of Nurses of Ontario, 2005; POST, 2005; Davis, 2005).
A report by the Nosocomial Infection National Surveillance Service from 1997 to 1999, covering 96 hospitals in England showed 47 percent of microorganisms that cause surgical site infections were staphylococci. Eighty-one percent of these were Staphylococcus aureus and 61 percent were Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) (CPSO, 2004; Davis, 2005; POST, 2005).
All of these occurrences are attributed to o...
In order to know the root of the problem which is the declining level of hygiene in hospitals, the sources and possible routes of infectious materials should be identified. Gaps and loopholes for the proper handling of such infection sources and vectors should be highlighted. Next, appropriate steps should be put in place that will answer these inefficiencies together with the responsible hospital staff for each task. Lastly, monitoring and maintenance systems should be developed to ensure long-term success in these efforts with emphasis on in any areas where improvements are needed (College of Nurses of Ontario, 2005; POST, 2005; Davis, 2005).
Studies and information already available for the abovementioned factors will be reiterated here. However, this paper will focus on other areas where data are lacking and further research is warranted. More specifically, the role of social workers in the proliferation and solution of hospital acquired infections will be assessed. Furthermore, research gaps in this area will be identified towards the development of qualitative and quantitative research methodologies.
Epidemiology of Hospital Acquired Infections
Hospital acquired infections are also referred to as nosocomial infections. These are infections that develop during the patient's stay in the hospital that were not previously present. There are two types of hospital acquired infections: autoinfection wherein the causative agent is inherently present in the patient but started to proliferate during confinement because of lowered resistance level, and cross-contamination wherein the causative agent comes from outside the patient which infects and develop during the patient's stay in the hospital (CPSO, 2004; Davis,