Healthcare associated infections

What is a healthcare associated infection (HCAI)?

Infections resulting from medical care or treatment in hospital (in- or out-patient), nursing homes, or even the patient's own home. Previously known as 'hospital acquired infection' or 'nosocomial infection' the current term reflects the fact that a great deal of healthcare is now performed outside the hospital setting. Healthcare associated infection (HCAI) can affect any part of the body, including the urinary system (urinary tract infection), the lungs (pneumonia or respiratory tract infection), the skin, surgical wounds (surgical site infection), the digestive (gastrointestinal) system and even the bloodstream (bacteraemia). Find out more...

If you are concerned about your health, contact your doctor.

What simple measures can help prevent HCAI?

  • Preventing spread between patients by cleaning hands either with soap and water or in some cases alcohol hand gel
  • Using "personal protective equipment", where necessary, for example, disposable gloves and aprons to prevent contamination of clothing and skin
  • Ensuring that, through regular cleaning, micro-organisms do not build up in the hospital environment
  • Isolating patients known to be colonised with a resistant micro-organism to reduce risk of spread
  • Careful use of antibiotics to minimise the spread of resistant strains and reduce the risk of patients contracting C. difficile infection.