Preventing nosocomial or healthcare-associated infections is an essential part of the infrastructure of healthcare at Kell West Regional Hospital. Prevention strategies include, but are not limited to hand hygiene, cleaning, disinfecting, sterilizing and vaccinations throughout the hospital and clinic settings. Prevention also includes monitoring, surveillance and outbreak investigation.
The importance of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract as an immune organ and the significant benefits of early nutritional support are now widely recognized. According to a Johns Hopkins study, up to 50% of patients are malnourished when admitted into the hospital. Malnutrition increases the risk of death after surgery, significantly raises the risk of postoperative complications (i.e., infection), and is a chief reason why patients are readmitted to the hospital. Understanding the importance of nutrition and hydration in fighting infection, we have instituted a peri-operative program for our surgical patients that includes the following:
1. Nutritional support in the preoperative and postoperative periods
2. Decreasing bacterial colonization with preoperative intranasal Bactroban
3. Antimicrobial cleansing with preoperative Hibicleans showers
4. Preoperative hydration during the NPO phase prior to surgery
We also recognize the importance of patient education in infection prevention.