Various developments have taken place in the U.S. health sector. Theadoption of technological and sociological aspects has played asignificant role in the provision of health care. However, there arespecific health-related issues that pose a challenge topractitioners. The United States (U.S.) government and other healthstakeholders have developed policies and legislations as means toaddress the issues. The Patient Safety Improvement Act of 2016provides solutions to healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), whichremain to be a hurdle to hospitals and government due to theirimpacts on the economy and society.
HAIs can be described as those infections that individuals pick inthe hospital facilities while receiving treatment for otherconditions (Schmier, Hulme-Lowe, Semenova, Klenk, DeLeo, Sedlak &Carlson, 2016). For example, a person can be admitted to a hospitalfor a bacterial infection. However, at the end of treatment, theyacquire a viral infection which forces them to be readmitted back tothe facility. It should be noted that HAI can occur in any hospitalsranging from surgical centers to long-term care facilities. HAIs canbe caused by viruses, fungi, bacteria and other pathogens. They causeillness, and in worst case scenarios, they can lead to death.Statistically, in the U.S. one out of 25 patients has a likelihood ofacquiring the infection as a result of hospital care (Schmier et al.,2016). Various factors raise the risk of HAI. They include surgery,injections, antibiotics overdose, poor hygiene, catheters, andcommunicable diseases (Schmier et al., 2016). The factors expose thepatients to conditions such as Central-line associated bloodstreaminfections (CLABSI), pneumonia, surgical site infections, urinarytract infection (UTI), and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus(MRSA) infections (Schmier et al., 2016). However,Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) are among themost prevalent HAIs. The cost burden of HAIs is colossal both to thegovernment and hospitals. The health sector accrues more than 20billion dollars due to HAIs (Whitehouse, 2016). For example, CAUTIscost approximately $900 per case to treat (Goodman, 2013). Pneumoniarequires about $40,000 per case because ventilators have to be put inplace to help the patients in breathing (Goodman, 2013). CLABSI isthe most expensive infection to treat because it costs an average of$45,000 per case (Goodman, 2013).
Some of the policies that have been adopted include culture changeand raising awareness, public reporting, and standardizingdefinitions (Center for Disease Control (CDC), 2012). Senator SheldonWhitehouse recently introduced a bill, Patient Safety Improvement Actof 2016, to help in combating HAIs in the U.S (Whitehouse, 2016).Whitehouse acknowledges the impact of HAI on the economic and socialbeing of the citizens. The bill seeks to encourage the wise use ofantibiotics such that they are active in dealing with the condition.On the other hand, the advanced practice registered nurse (APRN)promotes the policies by leveraging their skills such that they meetthe requirements for the practice (Ryan, 2012). APRNs have beentrained in statistical analysis which helps them in providing acomparison of the different time periods of patients in the facility.Moreover, they have been offered advanced training on how tointerpret various statistics and peer-reviewed journals that dealwith HAIs (Ryan, 2012). The policies play a significant role inpromoting the clinical practice and achievement of best outcomes.They improve adherence to evidence-based practices such that thehealth practitioners have to observe the set guidelines to ensurethere are minimal cases of HAIs (CDC, 2012). The inter-professionalteam may use the policies in ascertaining the inventory of theinterventions, processing measures and recommending further steps toeradicate HAIs in the hospital environment (CDC, 2012).
In conclusion, HAIs will continue to pose a threat to the medicalpractice unless specific legislations and policies are observed tothe latter. Legislation such as Patient Safety Improvement Actcontinues to serve a significant purpose in ensuring that all healthstakeholders participate in addressing HAIs because of its financialand emotional constraints.
Center for Disease Control (CDC). (2012). Policies for EliminatingHealthcare-Associated Infections: Lessons from State StakeholderEngagement. Center for Disease Control. Retrieved 3 April2017, fromhttps://www.cdc.gov/hai/pdfs/toolkits/hai-policy-case-studies-lesssons-learned.pdf
Goodman, B. (2013).Hospital-acquired-infections-cost-10-billion-a-year-study.Retrieved 3 April 2017, fromhttp://health.usnews.com/health-news/news/articles/2013/09/03/hospital-acquired-infections-cost-10-billion-a-year-study
Ryan, J. (2012). Leveraging theskills of APRNs to prevent HAIs. NursingManagement, 43(9),22-25.
Schmier, J. K., Hulme-Lowe, C. K.,Semenova, S., Klenk, J. A., DeLeo, P. C., Sedlak, R., & Carlson,P. A. (2016). Estimated hospital costs associated with preventablehealth care-associated infections if health care antiseptic productswere unavailable. ClinicoEconomicsand outcomes research: CEOR, 8,197.
Whitehouse. (2016). Whitehouse Introduces Bill to Fight HealthCare-Associated Infections | U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of RhodeIsland. Whitehouse.senate.gov. Retrieved 3 April 2017,fromhttps://www.whitehouse.senate.gov/news/release/whitehouse-introduces-bill-to-fight-health-care-associated-infections
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