Healthcare associated infections (HAIs) are infections people get while in a healthcare facility. HAIs may occur after a medical or surgical procedure. They can be mild or life-threatening. Importantly, most HAIs can be avoided with diligent infection prevention efforts.
Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are infections you can get at a healthcare facility while you're being treated for other diseases or conditions. These infections can cause serious illness or death. They are a growing threat to patient safety in the United States and worldwide.
HAIs cause thousands of deaths a year and cost the U.S. healthcare system billions of dollars annually.
Yet most HAIs can be prevented. Patients and their families should work with healthcare providers to make sure they stay safe.
HAIs happen in hospitals, nursing homes, long-term care facilities, ambulatory surgical centers, dialysis centers, and other healthcare facilities. These factors increase the risk of an HAI:
Some types of HAIs are related to the procedures or devices used to provide healthcare. These include:
Another way of identifying HAIs involves the actual germs that cause the infections. These include infections like the following:
HAIs can cause illnesses ranging from mild to extremely serious and life-threatening. Treatment of HAIs depends on the infection involved. Some respond to carefully chosen antibiotic treatments. However, some HAIs can be extremely difficult to treat because of their resistance to antibiotics. Because of this, the best treatment for HAIs is prevention.
You and your family can help make sure you’re doing as much as possible to keep you safe from HAIs. Take the following steps:
Healthcare-associated infections can happen while you're being treated for a separate condition. These are often avoidable. We all play an important role in patient safety. If you see something that could place a patient, or yourself, at risk for an infection, speak up to your healthcare team.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 06/08/2021.
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