Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), formerly known as nosocomial infections, are infections acquired during the course of receiving medical care, and can include, but are not limited to, infections of the blood, urinary tract, lungs, skin, and surgical sites. Patients can get them from routine care, surgery, as a complication from the use of medical devices such as ventilators or catheters, or as a side effect of the overuse of antibiotics. These infections can be serious and costly, but many are preventable. An estimated 1.7 million HAIs and 99,000 associated deaths (citation) occur in the United States each year, accounting for $28 to $45 billion in direct healthcare costs annually. (citation)
Patients and residents move across the continuum of care, from hospitals to long-term care facilities, outpatient surgery centers, rehabilitation centers, assisted living facilities, and other settings. Thus, it is essential that healthcare providers understand how infections are transmitted and facilities have policies and procedures in place to reduce the risk of HAIs.
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