Hospital intensive-care units carry a higher risk of mortality among elderly who develop an infection during their stay, according to a new study. Infection control efforts resulted in better health outcomes and reduced healthcare costs, the study also reports.
An analysis of health outcomes of more than 17,000 Medicare patients admitted to 31 hospitals in 2002 found those who had an infection while in an ICU were 35% more likely to die within five years of leaving the hospital. An additional five years of Medicare claims data also was examined to assess the long-term outcomes and health costs attributed to healthcare-associated infections.
Working to prevent two of the most common types of healthcare-associated infections—central-line bloodstream infections and pneumonia—can increase the chances of patient survival and reduce the cost of their care by more than $150,000 per patient, according to the study published Monday in the January issue of the American Journal of Infection Control.
Researchers found prevention programs for central-line bloodstream infections resulted in an average gain of 15 years of life for patients treated in ICU, while patients gained an average of 10 years of life when pneumonia was prevented.
“Any death from preventable infections is one too many,” said senior study author Patricia Stone, director of the Center for Health Policy at Columbia University School of Nursing, in a released statement. “We've known for decades what works to prevent infections and save lives. Now, our study shows just how much money can be saved by investing in prevention.”
More than 700,000 patients each year acquire an infection during their stay in a hospital, and of those, an estimated 75,000 people die as a result, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Central line-associated bloodstream infections in hospitals fell by 44% between 2008 and 2012, according to the CDC.
The number of MRSA infections that occurred in hospitals decreased by 4% between 2011 and 2012, while the number of catheter-associated urinary tract infections rose by 3% between 2009 and 2012, according to the agency.
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